NSW coach Brad Fittler laid down the challenge.
St George Illawarra are bracing for the reaction.
Manly's Tom Trbojevic has 80 minutes on Sunday to produce some explosive form and earn his Blues jumper.
Fittler was gun shy on Nine's Sunday Footy Show when speaking about Tommy Turbo's chances of a recall for the Blues' must-win game in Perth, but that was before Nick Cotric was injured in Canberra's win over the Sharks on Thursday.
While Paul McGregor's first-choice fullback, the captain Gareth Widdop, continues his rehabilitation with a view to returning before finals, Trbojevic made his comeback from a hamstring injury in the 22-20 win over the Cowboys in Townsville,
He produced two try-assists, but made four errors, prompting Fittler to expect more from Cotric's expected replacement against the Dragons.
"He looked hesitant and he's come back now from his second hamstring injury and it's one of those injuries that's very mental," Fittler said. "He's got another week."
Manly and the Dragons cross paths again at a curious time. St George Illawarra piled on the points and woes on Canterbury last Sunday to snap a five-game losing streak. Their previous success came against Manly at WIN Stadium in April, in controversial circumstances, through a late try-saving catch from Mikaela Ravalawa, assisted by the lingering presence of Tim Lafai.
So controversial, it prompted NRL head of football Graham Annesley to come out the next day and concede Lafai should have been penalised for escorting Reuben Garrick far enough off the ball, they may as well have walked up the street and into the Steelers Club together.
Trbojevic was absent that night, but Manly have still surged into the top eight, while the Dragons are languishing in 10th.
"He's obviously a very high-quality player," Dragons hooker Cameron McInnes said.
"Any team with their best players in is going to be a better side, so we'll pay attention to him, as we will all of their players.
"But if we're dominant in defence and switched on, he won't have many opportunities."
Like Trbojevic, Dragons second-rower Tariq Sims is another under the microscope for Origin selection, after NSW let an eight-point half-time lead slip in Brisbane.
In the win over the Dogs, Sims found more than a glimpse of the the barnstorming form which earned him an Origin debut last year.
Sims has proven the spark for the Dragons on a number of occasions, most notably in the famous 48-18 elimination final thumping of Brisbane.
Fittler could do with his fire as much as McGregor does right now.
While you're with us the Illawarra Mercury is offering sport readers 20% off an annual digital subscription. Sign up to stay up to date with all the local sports you love for only $3.00 a week. Terms and conditions apply.