Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey remains upbeat that star duo Brett Stewart and Brenton Lawrence will play in Friday night's second qualifying final against South Sydney at Allianz Stadium.
The pair b
oth missed last Saturday night's 30-16 loss to the Cowboys in the final competition round in Townsville and are awaiting final medical clearances.
Lawrence was still recovering from an ankle injury that forced him to miss the previous week's game against Penrith and Toovey said it was touch and go whether he played against the Cowboys.
"He just wasn't quite right so we didn't want to risk him," Toovey said.
The presence of the hard running front-rower will be a key against the big, bruising South Sydney pack this week.
"We are pretty confident about Brenton and Brett should be OK as well." Toovey said.
Attacking ace Stewart missed Saturday night's game after injuring his ankle in the captain's run.
"He's just resting up until later in the week," Toovey said.
The Sea Eagles should confirm today that Lawrence is fit, while they may have to wait until later in the week before Stewart gets the green light.
While warhorse hooker Matt Ballin will miss the Rabbitohs game, there is a chance that he will be back for the following week.
The statistics tell the story of where the Sea Eagles have to improve against the Rabbitohs with 53 per cent completion rate in the first half against the Cowboys.
"That is just terrible," Toovey said.
"We made eight mistakes and six of them were in the first half — kicking the ball out on the full twice."
This kind of errors are uncharacteristic for the team renowned for their discipline.
Those factors resulted in the Sea Eagles having to make 76 more tackles than the Cowboys.
That is a scenario that they cannot afford to repeat against Souths.