However, Manly are confident Tony Williams will be OK for the Eagles in their Rugby League World Club Challenge at the end of February.
After being snared from Parramatta, the giant winger ripped his hamstring in a pre-season hitout not long after Christmas, tests initially confirming at least 2 months on the sidelines.
However, a faster recover may be likely – with Manly insisting that the 20-year-old will play a part in Des Hasler’s squad to tour England in several weeks time.
The Eagles have lined up a warm-up game against the London Harlequins in London first befire World Club Challenge square off with powerhouse Leeds at Elland Road on March 1.
“He hurt it about three weeks ago, it was a grade two tear and it was going to be between six to eight weeks,” Manly’s Grant Mayer confirmed.
“His rehab’s been really good and it’s more than likely that he’ll be coming to the UK – whether he’s ready for the first game we don’t know, but certainly the medical team expect that if he stays on track he’ll be right for that game against Leeds on March 1.”
Early indications from Manly officials suggest Tony Williams has settled in well, proving to be a strong trainer and likely to force his way into the already talented Manly squad. Manly are blessed for wingers at present, with another former Eels flanker – David ‘Wolfman’ Williams bursting onto the scene in 2008 and proving a real handful for opponents.
Michael Roberston finished 2008 in strong form, bagging a triple in the Grand Final and ensuring he won’t be a pushover for wing spots this season either.
However coach Des Hasler is believed to be warming to the idea of Tony Williams in the backrow. The bulky flanker has size and speed, which is all the ingredients needed to make a strong impact at the back of the scrum.
“Des recruited him as a backrower when he first came across but obviously the fact he can play wing and centre is a bonus,” Mayer said.
Manly while blessed for talent, remain in the tough position of trying to keep their playing group together under the salary cap – with several players making rep teams in 2008, the situation is only going to get worse if the Sea Eagles continue their strong rise.