Sea Eagles declare full faith in rookie five-eighth
MANLY have rallied around under-fire rookie Lachlan Croker, insisting the rising five-eighth is the man to replace Blake Green.
Croker was questioned as Green's successor after the Sea Eagles' golden point loss to Newcastle.
The 21-year-old tried hard against the Knights, but copped criticism for his lack of match-winning organisation and experience.
Croker may be two games into his NRL career, but his Manly teammates have full faith in the Goulburn-born playmaker.
"Everyone is entitled to their opinion, but maybe its people panicking over round one," hooker Api Koroisau fired.
"It's a really long season and people need to relax a little bit.
"Croker is the man for the job. He is really young, but at the same time he has got a really old head on him.
"We had 14 or 15 errors against the Knights and you are never going to win a game like that.
"I just think everyone needs to give Croker a chance and let him play."
Croker wasn't perfect against Newcastle, but Koroisau was happy with his five-eighth's contribution.
He says the Sea Eagles made life harder for the entire team with their poor ball handling.
"I love the way Croker went, but I think other areas just let us down," he said.
"He is really confident with his calls and he had everything set up really well for the team.
"We were really clunky and stop start and it's hard for a half to get going after that.
"I think our forwards can lay a platform for him this week and really help him out."
Manly lock Jake Trbojevic also denied suggestions the club had failed in signing Croker as Green's replacement.
"I don't agree with that," Trbojevic said.
"I think Lachy Croker is a quality player. It wouldn't have mattered who was playing because we dropped too much ball. It is not good enough to win games, so to be there at the end I think we did really well.
"Lachy is a great player and I think he'll have a great year. He and Cherry actually work quite well together. Lachy is a similar player to Green. He is really composed, but just not as experienced.
"But at some point a young kid has got to get a go and I'm really excited to watch him play."
You could have forgiven Croker for losing confidence after Manly's thrilling round one defeat, but Trbojevic says the ex-Raider has been a picture of positivity at training this week.
It's why he expects the nephew of former Canberra international Jason Croker to rebound in style against Parramatta on Sunday.
"That's the best thing, his head hasn't dropped," he said.
"I seriously have full confidence in him."