Manly Warringah Sea Eagles 2017 season review

Eddie Otto Roar Pro

By Eddie Otto, Eddie Otto is a Roar Pro

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    The Sea Eagles were one of the true surprise packets of 2017, making the finals after finishing 13th in 2016.

    Trent Barrett and his men played an exciting brand of football that made the Sea Eagles one of the most entertaining teams in the NRL throughout the season.

    Season Ranking – Exited first Week of Finals 6th (Regular Season – 14 Wins, ten Losses, 552 Points For, 512 Points Against)

    Season Rating 9/10 – I go as high as nine for Manly, as expectations were generally low for a team that finished in the bottom four in 2016. After a nightmare start where they were belted by the Eels and Rabbitohs at home in their opening two games, the Sea Eagles rallied to become one of the most dangerous attacking sides in the NRL.

    The Sea Eagles form was fantastic on the road, beating strong sides like the Roosters, Cowboys and Raiders in their own backyard.

    The side looked flaky defensively, especially on the edges at times throughout the season, and that’s something they will have to get better at if they want to take another step forward in 2018.

    Coach Rating 9/10 – (Trent Barrett) – He suffered a real baptism of fire in his debut coaching season. However, I really thought Trent Barrett owned this side this year and owned their style of football.

    He looked at the roster at his disposal and got the best out of the team by playing a fast and expansive style that suited the likes of Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic. Barrett was also responsible for some shrewd recruiting, with Blake Green proving the perfect foil for Cherry-Evans, and Akuila Uate rediscovering some of his best form on the wing.

    Jake Trbojevic Manly Sea Eagles NRL Rugby League 2017

    (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)

    Manly seemed a confident and happy team for most the year and, while Barrett could occasionally lose his rag in post-match press conferences, he has a good hold on what he is doing with this roster.

    Best Win – Round 5 Sydney Roosters 12 Manly Sea Eagles 18 @ Allianz Stadium – Not many sides went to Allianz and beat the Roosters this year, so I have Manly’s Round 5 triumph against the Chooks as their best win of the season. The Roosters were undefeated at the time, and Manly had started the year in patchy fashion. However, they showed their quality here, as well as resolve, to allow an attacking powerhouse like the Roosters just two tries.

    Worst Loss – Round 20 St George Illawarra Dragons 52 Manly Sea Eagles 22 @ – Despite having a largely successful season, there were a few dismal displays thrown in by the Sea Eagles, and this was their worst at WIN Stadium. The Sea Eagles didn’t bring their tackling boots for this game and, down 30-0 at halftime, they were never in the contest.

    Best Player – Daly Cherry-Evans – Cherry-Evans was back to his dynamic best in 2017 after a couple of season where his form had dipped alarmingly. While he was still snubbed by Queensland, he played like the best halfback in the competition for large periods of 2017.

    He stepped up in clutch moments with big field goals, as well as playing some sparking attacking football, whether through his passing, kicking or rejuvenated running game. He led from the front as Captain this year, and they won’t be able to ignore him at Rep level if he reproduces his 2017 form next season.

    Most Disappointing Player – Nate Myles – You would have to say it’s nearly the end of the road for an old warhorse in Nate Myles after a chastising 2017. Myles was actually traded to the Storm mid-season, after being dropped from the Queensland Origin side after Game 1.

    Myles failed to break into the Storm’s Premiership winning side and his career is at the crossroads heading into 2018. He has been a really valuable player over a number of years, but looked to be slowing down, and I’m not sure if he has too much quality football left in him.

    2018 Prospects – I see no reason why this side can’t improve further in 2018. They have a great spine, as well as plenty of players at the right stage of their career that can get even better.

    However, there is no doubt they slipped under some side’s guard this year, and they will have to be ready to deal with some of the hype and favouritism that sides with expectations have to carry.

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    The Crowd Says (22)

    • Roar Guru

      October 17th 2017 @ 8:48am
      The Barry said | October 17th 2017 @ 8:48am | ! Report

      I’ll put my hand up and admit to getting their 2017 prospects all wrong.

      To me their 2016 season plus their 2017 signings plus over $1M of cap sidelined via Stewart and Macao didn’t add up to a big season.

      Could have been much better too but for the wheels falling off a little in the final third of the season where a top four spot loomed.

      At their best they played really exciting attacking footy.

      I thought they’d hit the player market pretty hard for 2018 but doesn’t look to be the case.

      I think they’re a bit skinny in the middle third.

      If Dylan Walker starts 2018 well he should be in the NSW centres. He had a great season and is a natural centre.

      • October 17th 2017 @ 11:31pm
        antz said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:31pm | ! Report

        macao? matai please

        • October 17th 2017 @ 11:43pm
          antz said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:43pm | ! Report

          Have to say thanks for the memories steve matai. one of the last true hardmen of league. you were a true warrior playing through injuries and still trying to smash everyone. I still remember you playing 08’with two busted shoulders for most of the season. KIa kaha to you and brett stewart. Maori-Warringah Seaeagles Hard!

    • Roar Guru

      October 17th 2017 @ 9:48am
      Nat said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:48am | ! Report

      Maybe I’m one of the few but I thought Manly would go OK this season. Possibly because they are a naturally competitive club or because I don’t have foxtel, therefore, don’t have my opinion slanted by Kent and Co. Maybe like Penrith, they don’t have any ‘superstars’ but a lot of very good players. A spine of Api, DCE, Green and Turbo has to be recognised. Jurbo, Taupau and Lawrence in the forwards and Walker is a natural try scorer. The fact they got into the top 4 was surprising but the cracks were appearing late in the season. Brian Kelly was good this year and will be better next year forming a formidable centre pairing. Their other young forwards will be better next year as well.

      Not sure about DCE being irresistible for rep selection next year though. Without sounding like a hater, after the year he had he still missed both Qld and WC selection. I fear he is the Pierce of Qld – great at club level… I think Munster, Morgan, Hunt and Milford may have surpassed him. Silver lining though through SoO period.

      • October 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm
        terrence said | October 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

        A povo “theroar guru” that can’t afford Foxtel, that says it all. Like a “‘Apple store genius” not owning an iPhone!

        “‘theroar” stat-ass downgrade required.

    • October 17th 2017 @ 9:58am
      Paul said | October 17th 2017 @ 9:58am | ! Report

      I think it’s safe to say Manly slipped under most people’s radars this year. No argument they had a terrific season and played some very good football at times. Not sure about their defence which seemed brittle on occasion and might need stiffening in 2018.

      Barrett had a great first season with them, now he has to back it up and that will be a test. He also needs to take his whinging about referees out of his repertoire if he hopes to go further in the game as a coach.

    • October 17th 2017 @ 11:41am
      Eddie Otto said | October 17th 2017 @ 11:41am | ! Report

      I have to admit guys I had them in my bottom 4 coming into the season. They did slip under the radar so teams will be better prepared from them next season. Blake Green I thought was a great foil for DCE.

    • October 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm
      souvalis said | October 17th 2017 @ 2:13pm | ! Report

      As far as the coaches rating..I’d have Belly at 10,then Green at 9 and Arthur fractionally behind at 8….kudos to Barrett for getting them into the 8 but no way was he at their level in performance and development of individuals,which the 9 suggests..

    • October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm
      Greg Ambrose said | October 17th 2017 @ 5:35pm | ! Report

      On paper the Eagles had a top four team perhaps in 2016 according to many. Unfortunately it was an illusion. The star back line was loaded with key players who had chronic injuries and the developing pack had plenty of injuries during the season.

      One of my favorite players Brett Stewart was selected despite being a total passenger and that alone was enough to derail the season.

      The lack of expectation for 2017 was largely based on this unfortunate season but we had the basis of a handy team and a pack which is potentially as good as any in the comp.

      At times the attack and the defence was good enough to win the title but others it was bad enough to win the spoon.

      Although history doesn’t always repeat Haslers and Barretts first two years with a developing team were very similar and ever since I’ve followed the Eagles they have built up to winning a title or two or as was the case in the early 80’s making a couple of GF’s.

      It would be really handy if one or two players emerge from the juniors in the next year or two who are rep quality players and we are possible contenders. The club has improved dramatically in some areas in the last couple of years and recruitment is back on track. Until Bozo and co stepped in we really had a very lame recent recruitment record.

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