STAND-IN Manly captain Matt Orford believes Ben Kennedy's enforced lay-off through injury may prove a blessing in disguise once the play-offs get under way next month.
The inspirational Kennedy will miss Sunday's match against South Sydney at Brookvale Oval.
He may not be available again until the finals.
But Orford insists Kennedy's absence is not all negative and the international will return with a fresh approach for the finals.
"Of course you'd rather have him
out there playing in every game,'' Orford said.
"But getting a rest at this stage of the year may not be a bad thing.
"He will come back nice and fresh at a vital time of the year and he'll be ready to go.''
Prop Jason King echoed Orford's view.
``We're definitely going to miss BK - he's a big loss - but when he comes back it will be a massive boost,'' he said.
Experienced Sea Eagles forward Luke Williamson will start at lock for Kennedy.
South Sydney coach Shaun McRae said Kennedy would be sorely missed.
But the Rabbitohs' boss believes players like Anthony Watmough, Steve Menzies and Brent Kite will step up and fill the void.
``He's been significant in a number of victories this year and will be missed,'' McRae said.
``But there's still a lot of quality players there.
``Players like Matt Orford and Steven Bell are match-winners.
``They are a very good side, well-drilled, and deserve to be where they are on the table.''
The two teams met four weeks ago with Manly unconvincing winners, 26-20, at Telstra Stadium.
McRae says his team, having won their past two over the Raiders and Penrith before the bye last weekend, will arrive at Brookvale Oval keen to continue their late season surge.
``We are not the team under pressure,'' he said. ``I don't think Manly are under pressure, they are already in the semis.
``The most important thing for us is not to focus on upsetting teams.
``We just want to go out there and finish the season well.''