Manly must plug a 11-point hole to keep their NRL title dream alive with Tom Trbojevic ruled out for the rest of the season.
The Manly and NSW superstar No.1 will on Wednesday undergo surgery on his ruptured pec, ruling him out for the season after going down in the Sea Eagles' costly drubbing at the hands of Melbourne on the weekend.
Trbojevic was holding on to a slim hope of playing again this year but that was officially scuppered today after he consulted a specialist.
Numbers provided by Fox Sports Stats lay bare the challenge now in front of coach Des Hasler without their strike weapon.
In 2019, they have an 83.3 per cent (10-2) winning record when Trbojevic is in their line-up but that drops to 36.4 per cent (4-7) when he's not.
Also, their attacking and defensive records are far superior with him at the back.
They average an extra 7.6 points in attack (24.5 compared to 16.9) and concede 3.5 points less (16.3 compared to 19.8) when he's in the side - a difference of 11.1 points.
But Manly are in their element when they're being written off and are relishing the challenge of proving the doubters wrong ahead of Friday's clash with Parramatta.
"When no one's talking about you and don't think you can win, that's when you try to get the job done," Trbojevic's brother and Sea Eagles lock Jake said.
"That's exciting for us.
"It's always tough when you lose a quality player, especially leading into the finals. But we'll be right. We've done it before, we did it earlier in the year without him, we've got to take confidence from that.
"Dessie is an experienced coach when it comes to finals, he'll have us in the best shape possible."
Former Sydney Roosters, Newcastle and Gold Coast outside back Brendan Elliot is expected to step into the No.1 jersey for their final-round clash with Parramatta.
"I don't make the decisions but Brendan Elliott, the way he's gone this year he'll slot straight in there," Jake said.
"He did a great job when Tom was out earlier in the year."