Manly are hopeful rather than confident Brett Stewart can overcome an ankle injury to face Souths in Friday’s NRL qualifying final.

Injury-hit Manly are hopeful rather than confident superstar fullback Brett Stewart will recover from an ankle injury in time for Friday’s NRL qualifying final against South Sydney.

Stewart was a late withdrawal from the Sea Eagles’ side for their loss to North Queensland in Townsville on Saturday after suffering the injury at training the day before.

The 2013 grand finalists are already without Glenn Stewart (ankle – season), Jamie Buhrer (knee – season) and Matt Ballin (leg – indefinite) for their match with Souths.

If Brett Stewart joins that trio on the sidelines for the Allianz Stadium encounter it would be a significant blow to Manly’s hopes of advancing straight to the third week of the playoffs.

Skipper Jamie Lyon said Manly would likely leave a decision on Stewart until as late as possible.

“He is 50/50 at the moment,” Lyon told AAP.

“I haven’t seen him today but he rolled an ankle on Friday before the Saturday game against the Cowboys.

“We just have to wait and see wait for it to settle down and fingers crossed hopefully he will be OK.”

Prop Brenton Lawrence is likely to recover from a knee injury in time to take on Souths but hooker Ballin won’t be there.

“He is still a little while away,” Lyon said.

“We missed him on the weekend, he does a lot of work for us that goes unnoticed from outside our team but we certainly miss him and hope he comes back.

“But having said that Jayden Hodges came in and did a great job for us on the weekend.

“He is on the rise hopefully both of them will play at some stage in the final series.”