As if the pain of losing their high-stakes encounter with Parramatta Eels wasn’t bad enough, the Manly Sea Eagles have reported that one of their key playmakers is set for a sideline stint through injury.

Five-eighth Kieran Foran suffered a hamstring injury in the defeat, leaving the field with just seven minutes remaining before being spotted by Fox League’s Greg Alexander with the injured area heavily iced.

Manly coach Des Hasler advised Foran was unlikely to play next week.

“He’s got a mild hamstring strain so I don’t think he’ll make it,” Hasler said after the game.

Last night’s defeat puts Manly four points outside the top eight – an increasingly dire situation with just four games to go in the season. Though they face the Titans next week, they still have games against the Sharks and Raiders that will all-but decide their finals hopes.

With no timeline on Foran’s return, it’s believed Hasler will turn to Josh Schuster to fill the void. Though he has primarily been used as a second-rower during his time at Manly, he does have experience in the No.6.

In a good sign for the club, they’ve won their last four games with Schuster in the halves.

NRL Rd 23 - Raiders v Sea Eagles
BRISBANE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 20: Josh Schuster of the Sea Eagles in action during the round 23 NRL match between the Canberra Raiders and the Manly Sea Eagles at Suncorp Stadium, on August 20, 2021, in Brisbane, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

Earlier this year Des Hasler was forced to reject claims during a press conference that Schuster has been promised the five-eighth role, although the coach admitted there would be opportunities down the line for the youngster he’d largely been using as a second-rower or interchange option.

“There is that intent (to make him five-eighth) and there’s opportunity down the road, but at the moment he’s doing a great job playing where he is. It suits the side really well.”

With Foran off to the Gold Coast next year, the upcoming game against the Titans could give Schuster the ultimate opportunity to remind Hasler of his worth in the halves.