Manly will be without Dylan Walker for another six NRL weeks after scans confirmed a new fracture in his problematic left foot.
On his return from another fracture in a different part of the foot, Walker was injured in the opening minutes of Saturday night’s loss to Penrith.
It means Cade Cust will again be returned to the Sea Eagles’ halves, after impressing there while deputising for Walker in rounds 10 and 11.
The only silver lining for Manly is that Cust impressed in those few weeks, as he earned a new contract and was arguably their best against North Queensland.
“We were really gutted for him,” hooker Danny Levi said of Walker.
“He’s a hard worker and is professional about it. He’ll move on and get what he needs to get done.
“With Custy back in there we have seen what he can do. He is an awesome player and a real eyes-up footy player.
“The whole team knows he will do a good job and really add something.”
There was, however, some positive news on the injury front for Manly.
Curtis Sironen has been cleared of a new knee injury, and could be able to play as soon as Friday night against the Warriors.
Centre Brad Parker is also some chance of playing, despite suffering a heavy concussion.
The countdown to Tom Trbojevic’s return is also ticking down, with the superstar fullback three weeks away from his comeback.
Friday’s match is crucial for Manly, given they have dropped to ninth.
Elsewhere, North Queensland were also breathing a sigh of relief.
Prop John Asiata has been cleared of any structural damage in his knee after limping off over the weekend, leaving him some chance to face Gold Coast on Sunday.
Adam Reynolds is hopeful of running out for South Sydney against Brisbane on Friday after suffering a shoulder injury.
Euan Aitken trained with St George Illawarra on Monday and showed no signs of his hamstring issues.
Dragons Adam Clune and Trent Merrin are also both expected to be fine to play on Thursday night against the Sydney Roosters, who are hoping to have Jared Waerea-Hargreaves fit.