SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 25: Kieran Foran of the Sea Eagles celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round seven NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Manly Sea Eagles at Bankwest Stadium, on April 25, 2021, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Matt King/Getty Images)

The Manly Sea Eagles have been decimated by positive COVID cases this week, losing Jake Trbojevic and Andrew Davey to the virus, but it's their latest withdrawal that will hurt the side's chances the most.

Lachlan Croker will also miss this Friday's clash with the Dragons with COVID, leaving Manly without a recognised hooker in their 22-man squad for the contest.

The only non-forwards in the Sea Eagles' reserves are fullback Kaeo Weekes, and centres Ray Vaega and Ben Trbojevic. Dylan Walker is the only utility on their bench as well, meaning Hasler will either need to gain an exemption to bring a player into the squad, or shuffle this side like a deck of cards.

Compounding their issues is the fact that their other options in Karl Lawton, James Segeyaro and Jamie Humphries are all sidelined for this weekend, meaning the only potential call-ins are 21 year-old hooker NSW Cup hooker Bailey Cantrill and 19 year-old Jersey Flegg star Gordon Chan Kum Tong.

NRL Rd 1 - Panthers v Sea Eagles
PENRITH, AUSTRALIA - MARCH 10: Karl Lawton of the Sea Eagles is taken off the field for a HIA assessment during the round one NRL match between the Penrith Panthers and the Manly Sea Eagles at BlueBet Stadium on March 10, 2022, in Penrith, Australia. (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

The more likely shift will see Kieran Foran to move into rake, where he was touted to play when re-joining the club last season, and move Josh Schuster from the bench to five-eighth. It would also likely see Ethan Bullemor move into the starting back-row with no Andrew Davey, and either Kurt de Luis or Ben Trobjevic join the interchange.

Foran has never played more than a few minutes here or there at dummy-half throughout his illustrious career, however certainly has the ball-skills and defensive grit to make the move in the short-term. It's likely Dylan Walker would spend a minor stint at hooker as well to lighten the load.

Kaeo Weekes is a highly regarded talent however has almost exclusively played fullback in his time playing for Blacktown, a move into the front-line in your NRL debut is simply too high a mountain to climb.

The Kiwis used Kieran Foran in a 13-minute cameo at dummy-half via the bench in their 26-6 win over Tonga last month, the Manly half clinging to the bench utility with Dylan Brown, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith's form too strong to have Foran supersede one of them.

Hasler, who is known for his mind games, will cut down his squad from 22 to 19 at 6pm Thursday night, giving a clearer indication of how the side will runout on Friday night against St George Illawarra.