FOUR youngsters, one still in his teens, are setting the standards at the Sea Eagles in 2011.
Young Manly back Michael Oldfield has made the most of limited chances in the NRL.
Teenager William Hopoate is part of Manly's next generation of NRL stars.
Centres William Hopoate (18), Michael Oldfield (21), five-eighth Kieran Foran (20) and half Daly Cherry-Evans (21) are part of one of the youngest backlines in the NRL with an average age of 23.2.
All four were instrumental in Manly’s 26-12 win over the Knights at Brookvale on Sunday and are set to back-up for Friday night’s clash against Souths.
Experienced centre Jamie Lyon will return, but with David Williams likely to miss the Rabbitohs match through injury, Oldfield should hold on to his spot.
It gives Manly the second youngest backline in the premiership, behind the Bulldogs (22.1).
Manly coach Des Hasler acknowledged his youngsters on Tuesday, believing they are putting pressure on the entire squad.
“We’ve been able to win games with the younger players coming up, they have done a great job,” he said. “Particularly Will Hopoate and Michael Oldfield, to be called in 24 hours before the game, I thought he [Oldfield] did a great job.
“They are the sorts of headaches coaches like to have.”
Lyon, who has missed the past two matches with a hamstring injury, said he had been impressed with the youngsters’ contributions in the early rounds.
“There’s plenty of rivalry there for spots, plenty pushing for spots, it’s good for the club and a good headache for Des,” he said.
The Manly co-captain said he has been particularly impressed by Hopoate, the kid filling his boots the past fortnight.
“He’s been great,” Lyon said.
“He’s definitely been one of our best the last couple of weeks and he’s only going to get better. It’s great for the club and for himself to get a few good games under his belt.”
But despite his time at the top, Hopoate is expecting to get the flick once Lyon, the suspended Steve Matai and Tony Williams (ankle) all return.
“They will obviously come straight back into the side,” the impressive teenager said.
“The only thing I can do is play consistent footy.”
Hasler said David Williams is unlikely to play with a decision to be made on Lyon closer to kick-off
``There’s a chance, there’s a good chance he could play,’’ Hasler said of Lyon.
``We’ll probably lose David Williams, he will be struggling ... .. so we get one back and lose one.’‘