Manly captain Jason King is on track for an NRL round one return from injury in a timely boost to the Sea Eagles' sapped forward stocks.
Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey said on Wednesday that King has been pencilled in for a comeback from a pectoral muscle injury in the club's premiership opener against Melbourne at Brookvale Oval on March 8.
The good news comes a day after fellow prop Richie Fa'aoso was forced into premature retirement due to a neck injury.
King suffered the injury in April last year and hasn't played since.
The 32-year-old King won't play in Manly's opening trial against Cronulla on Friday but Toovey said he had been cleared for full contact training, opening the way for his return against the Storm.
"That is what we are aiming for," Toovey said.
"Jason has had a few injuries in his career ... I think he has missed two grand finals because of those injuries so it is very frustrating for him.
"But it also keeps you fresh and fresh mentally and wanting to get back and play some football.
"He is more than keen to get out there."
With the loss of Fa'aoso, Brent Kite (Penrith) and Joe Galuvao (retired), Toovey said King has become even more valuable to Manly.
"He definitely becomes more important with his seniorority at the club," Toovey said at the announcement of a three-year sponsorship deal with Chinese air conditioning giant Daikin worth around $1 million.
"We have lost Joe Galuvao and Brent Kite with that seniority at the club so it is important Jason gets back on the field as soon as possible."
By James MacSmith