Jon Geddes Manly Daily
New five-eighh Dylan Walker trains with the Sea Eagles.Picture Gregg Porteous
SEA Eagles coach Trent Barrett says new recruit Dylan Walker has made the crucial five-eighth spot his own ahead of Friday’s showdown against the Bulldogs at Brookvale Oval.
And he said the club remains hopeful that fullback Brett Stewart will recover from a hamstring strain in time to take the field.
Former South Sydney back Walker steps into the hot seat forming a new scrumbase combination with Daly Cherry-Evans in round one following the departure of Kieran Foran.
“He is a very good player, I haven’t had to do a hell of a lot with him,” said Barrett, who was a champion five-eighth.
“There hasn’t been a session whether we have ummed and aahed whether we have made the right decision.
“He has made that decision for us and made that spot his own at the moment.
Coach Trent Barrett talks turkey with Dylan Walker. Picture Gregg Porteous
“I will give him every chance to be successful there.”
Barrett said Walker’s combination with Cherry-Evans won’t be the finished product straight away, they are on the right track.
And having the pair playing together provides Manly with plenty of attacking options.
“We do want him (Walker) to run but Cherry can run the ball as well,” Barrett said.
“That is a big thing and a big benefit for us that we can have two halves that will threaten the line and aren’t afraid to run.”
And Barrett’s final instructions his new five-eighth will be simple — do the little things well.
Stewart will be given up to kick- off to prove his fitness.
“He is still very hopeful ... at worst he will only miss one game,” Barrett said.
Brett Stewart has been given to the last minute to prove his fitness..Picture Gregg Porteous
If Stewart is ruled out, boom youngster Tom Trbojevic will move to fullback with Fabian Goodall, Halauafu Lavaka and Brayden Williame the candidates to come in on the wing.
Lavaka and Goodall joined the club for Parramatta this season and have impressed during the pre-season.
The game also marks Barrett’s debut as a head coach in the NRL.
“I wish it would hurry up and come around, it seems like a lifetime since we started pre-season,” he said.
“There will be a few nerves there on Friday night
“All the work has been done and there is not a hell of a lot we can do for the players now.
“They have put themselves in a position to play well and I’m confident we’ll give a good account of ourselves.
“My final delivery and messages need to be spot on for the team between now and the game.”