Sea Eagles firebrand Martin Taupau is ready to take on the Cowboys and in particular his New Zealand teammate Jason Taumalolo on Saturday night.
Taumalolo and Taupau will do battle at Brookvale Oval just 24 hours before they're likely to be named for the Kiwis to play Australia in Newcastle on May 6.
The Cowboys lock missed New Zealand's end-of-season tour of England last year but Taupau fully expects him to be named in Stephen Kearney's team on Sunday.
"He is a wrecking ball and one scary player. He's a very good player at that. He does his job very well and he's an asset to the Cowboys pack," Taupau said of Taumalolo.
"He's just so explosive. He has so much raw power and he's very talented.
"It's nice to go up against teammates. We play together with the Kiwis and everyone compares Jason and I and all that sort of stuff but we're two different individuals.
"We're also two very good mates as well. Fingers crossed we're both named [for New Zealand]. Jason will be in there, he's one player you can't not have in the team.
"I haven't heard from Stephen [Kearney] but I guess they say no news is good news right? If I get selected I get selected and if I don't well then I'll get a week off."
Taupau was also buoyed by the return of influential Sea Eagles halfback Daly Cherry-Evans in Manly's last start 16-point win over the Knights on Anzac Day.
At times Taupau was struggling to find the ball in his newfound position as an edge back-rower without Cherry-Evans leading the team around.
It was no coincidence then that Taupau's return to form against the Knights coincided with the halfback's late inclusion, with Taupau producing 145 metres and 35 tackles.
"It was good to have a bit of direction. Nothing against Api [Koroisau] and Dylan Walker but Cherry-Evans has been here a fair few years now and he knows how to run things on the field. It was very good to have him back and get the win," Taupau said.
"We have a structure in place and I don't want to ruin it. I just have to do my job. I'm getting better and I'm a lot better in terms of minutes too.
"Last year I probably averaged around 45-odd minutes and now I'm playing 80 so that's a big step for me. Everything else is always ongoing but I love it."
This article first appeared from nrl.com