Manly Sea Eagles in 2017: Off-season, what to look for, and prediction

Nicholas Nakos Roar Pro

By Nicholas Nakos, Nicholas Nakos is a Roar Pro

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    A lack of consistency plagued Manly during 2016, with the club unable to generate back-to-back victories until Rounds 17 and 18.

    A poor defensive record, whereby the Sea Eagles routinely gave up 30 points to top-eight opposition, rendered them incapable of making a run towards the top eight.

    The off-season
    Retirements to three of the team’s premiership stalwarts in Brett Stewart, Steve Matai and Jamie Lyon will come as a blow to the club and their leadership and experience will undoubtedly be dearly missed. The Sea Eagles have recruited heavily in the offseason and I particularly like the additions of Blake Green and Curtis Sironen.

    Green has shown himself to be a capable player at the six and will allow Dylan Walker to return to his more accustomed position at centre.

    Sironen has been earmarked as a future NSW State of Origin player and could do his credentials a world of good at a Manly team which is undersized in the second row. His versatility and apt ball handling make him a handy addition to this Manly roster.

    What to look for in 2017
    Tom and Jake Trbojevic will continue to excel and develop and are certainly assets Manly will hope to retain for years to come. Where the team seeks to integrate Jackson Hastings will be interesting and there is a good competition within the five-eighth, halfback and hooker roles at the club.

    Sea Eagles player Tom Trbojevic

    I look for Manly to be more competitive in games in 2017, as I don’t believe their defensive schemes will be as porous as they were in 2016. With another pre-season under his belt, Trent Barrett will hopefully have further imprinted his stamp upon the clubs playing style.

    Daly Cherry-Evans had a down year by his standards and those which are expected of him inside and outside of the Manly club. After attracting enormous attention in 2015 with his new contract, I believe he will improve with an experienced five-eighth such as Green by his side.

    A more recent development has been the renaming of Brookvale Oval to ‘Lottoland’, which is surely one of the more farcical names given to a stadium anywhere in the world, let alone in Australia. It is more certainly a sign of the times, and indicative of the need for clubs to boost revenue in whichever way they can. Manly are said to have received a seven-figure sum for the naming rights.

    Good luck to them.

    2017 prediction
    The first six games of the 2017 season will be crucial to Manly. They play four teams who finished in the bottom eight last season and a Canterbury team who are regressing rather than progressing. If the Sea Eagles can finish this stretch 4-2 or even 5-1 then they will have already exceeded my expectations.

    As I see things, this team will take some time to gel. They will miss out in finals again in 2017 and be primed for a run at the top eight once more in 2018.

    2017 prediction: 12th

    NRL 2016 record: 8-0-16 (20 points- 13th)

    Ins: Shaun Lane (NZ), Blake Green (Melbourne), Cameron Cullen (Gold Coast), Akuila Uate (Newcastle), Curtis Sironen (Wests), Jackson Hastings (Sydney), Jonathan Wright (NZ), Jarrad Kennedy (Canberra), Frank Winterstein (union), Lloyd Perrett (Canterbury)

    Outs: Jamie Lyon (retirement), Brett Stewart (retirement), Steve Matai (retirement), Siosia Vave (Parramatta), Jamie Buhrer (Newcastle), Josh Starling (Newcastle), Brayden Williame (Catalans), Matt Parcell (Leeds), Feleti Mateo (Salford), Luke Burgess (Catalans), Blake Leary (Townsville Blackhawks)

    The Socceroos' hopes of qualifying from the group stage at the World Cup are hanging by a thread after a 1-1 draw against Denmark. See how the match unfolded with our Australia vs Denmark match report, highlights and result.

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    The Crowd Says (72)

    • February 18th 2017 @ 4:54am
      Peeeko said | February 18th 2017 @ 4:54am | ! Report

      Curtis Sironen? Nsw origin? The guy spent last year in reserve grade behind a very average west tigers back row

      Manly will come 15th

      • February 18th 2017 @ 6:50am
        NSWelshman said | February 18th 2017 @ 6:50am | ! Report

        lolol………..dream on. Manly will finish higher than you expect!! Let’s see at the end of the regular season. I’ll bet they finish above whatever team you support! They will finish in position 5 – 8!

        • February 18th 2017 @ 9:25am
          peeeko said | February 18th 2017 @ 9:25am | ! Report

          how will they finish 5-8? they were really bad last year. how are they better? Blake Green was servicable along side the great cronk, sirro is average, uate couldnt get a run in the worst side in NRL history, Hastings was in reserve grade and has attitude problems
          you have lost the great lyon, a very good forward in buhrer and the under rated Vave and Parcell who had a lot of potential
          not to mention an unproven coach and massive fighting at board level

          • Roar Guru

            February 18th 2017 @ 10:19am
            eagleJack said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

            I’ve enjoyed reading the glowing tributes for Jamie Buhrer. When at Manly he was apparently the worst player to ever lace on a boot. But now he’s a huge loss. Tough to keep up.

            I hope he kills it at the Knights. Great bloke who deserves success.

            • Roar Guru

              February 18th 2017 @ 10:41am
              The Barry said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:41am | ! Report

              Yeah. Good point. I’m definitely a culprit there. Ive thought Buhrer was over rated for most of his career but he was really good last year and stepped up to be a leader of their forwards in the absence of King, Stewart, Watmough, Ballin, etc

              • Roar Guru

                February 18th 2017 @ 11:35am
                eagleJack said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:35am | ! Report

                Cheers TB, you certainly weren’t alone. No doubt getting selected for Origin in a utility role turned many off him, and he failed to win back their affections.

                You’re right about him moving into a leadership role, morphing from a hole runner early in his career, to a middle forward cleaning up the mess most don’t notice. He certainly led from the front.

                But I can see the direction management are trying to take. Manly lacked creativity in the forwards with Buhrer quite one dimensional. Picking up a ball player in Sironen they are hoping for another Gifty type player. Plus the leaders are now Jake T and Marty T. Get 2nd phase gong from Taupau offloads and ball playing from Sironen on an edge. Buhrer was surplus to requirements.

                Good in theory but who knows.

              • Roar Guru

                February 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm
                The Barry said | February 18th 2017 @ 5:07pm | ! Report

                The early blues call up certainly didn’t help him with public perception.

                Interesting to hear your thoughts about Manly’s tactics for next year particularly with Siro. I’m sure they were hoping the same thing with Mateo – that he’d be a like for like replacement for Gifty.

                It’s also the beauty of a new season wondering how the pieces will fit together and how it’ll all work out.

                This really is a new era for Manly now. They’ve had almost complete turnover of that side that did so well for them for a decade.

                Good luck for the season ahead mate.

              • February 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm
                Kevin Malone said | February 18th 2017 @ 6:34pm | ! Report

                Ha ha Buhrer surplus because they got Sironen
                Sironen was behind Nevilles at the tigers

              • February 18th 2017 @ 7:24pm
                Ben said | February 18th 2017 @ 7:24pm | ! Report

                Sironon is twice the player Buhrer was.

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:26pm
                Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                Inappropriate comment. Mods.

          • February 19th 2017 @ 4:26am
            NSWelshman said | February 19th 2017 @ 4:26am | ! Report

            How old are you?? You sound like a child! Manly have improved markedly & last night’s showing against a near full strength Roosters is an indication they have improved. Yes it was a trial, however from all the reports both sides played well & are destined for the top 8. If you bothered to watch & notice what went down at Manly last season you will see that numerous injuries & setbacks hindered their season. With more stability & a learning curve behind them they can only improve. Perhaps if you put aside your apparent envy & dislike of Manly you wouldn’t post such rubbish!

            • February 19th 2017 @ 10:17am
              Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:17am | ! Report

              I don’t have any envy of manly being a sharks supporter
              You are blinkered if you think their buys aren’t very risky
              A club in decline that will take a few years to rebuild and return to the top

              • February 19th 2017 @ 11:08am
                NSWelshman said | February 19th 2017 @ 11:08am | ! Report

                And you think your Sharks will do well this year lolol……….Manly is not on the decline. Yes they’ve had a couple of lean years unlike the Sharks who have had 50 lean years & will return to struggle street again this year!

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:26pm
                Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:26pm | ! Report

                What is hilarious is how you manly supporters think everyone is envious of them
                You are just another club and I prefer manly over many others

            • February 20th 2017 @ 6:00pm
              john prophet said | February 20th 2017 @ 6:00pm | ! Report

              well said manly can only go upwards from here

        • February 18th 2017 @ 7:53pm
          no one in particular said | February 18th 2017 @ 7:53pm | ! Report

          The only way Manly finish 5-8 is if 8 teams get caught rigging the cap Melbourne style

          • February 19th 2017 @ 7:09am
            NSWelshman said | February 19th 2017 @ 7:09am | ! Report

            lolol………..seems it infuriates many people in here that Manly has had & will continue to be a success. Feels great to see so many people death ride them but really envy them & only wish their teams could be so good!!!

            • February 19th 2017 @ 10:18am
              Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:18am | ! Report

              You have an unrealistic view of the world

              • February 19th 2017 @ 11:09am
                NSWelshman said | February 19th 2017 @ 11:09am | ! Report

                No I have history to back my views!!

              • February 19th 2017 @ 1:27pm
                Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 1:27pm | ! Report

                How many premierships manly won ? You think you are special and everyone hates you for it. Just another club

              • February 20th 2017 @ 4:33am
                NSWelshman said | February 20th 2017 @ 4:33am | ! Report

                Manly has won 8 premierships!! How many have the Sharks………I’m sticking up for the club I support as do you for your club, however when I read things about Manly that people tend to dream up then I will have my say! Yes manly is just another club…..the views people have of Manly is like they’re the only team that has poached players from other clubs or are arrogant or whatever but their clubs are different….yeah right. All clubs are the same, however as I said, I will stick up for mine!

          • February 19th 2017 @ 7:11am
            NSWelshman said | February 19th 2017 @ 7:11am | ! Report

            Perhaps you should have added Parramatta style & Bulldogs style whilst you’re at it. You really are ‘no one in particular’ lolol.

    • Roar Guru

      February 18th 2017 @ 8:34am
      eagleJack said | February 18th 2017 @ 8:34am | ! Report

      Fair assessment. A lot of moving parts which could either be hits or misses. But the recruitment has been more focussed this year with an aim to strengthen some key weaknesses. I’m also pleased with the age of the squad, bodes well for the future.

      Losing Matai hurts as a centre combo of him and Walker would have been strong. I’m really hoping young Kelly comes along in leaps and bounds.

      They are a better team than in 2016. A bit of luck with injuries and I think they’ll surprise many. Their schedule is 10x better so that certainly helps. Manly never recovered from the diabolical 4 x 5 day turnarounds in 6 weeks last year. Players shouldn’t be put through that. Good to see the NRL evening it up this year.

      Not a premiership side by any stretch of the imagination. But will be part of the log jam fighting for the bottom of the 8.

      • Roar Pro

        February 18th 2017 @ 9:05am
        Nicholas Nakos said | February 18th 2017 @ 9:05am | ! Report

        Yes I agree the fixture was less than desirable for them last season that is for certain! In what I imagine to be a rather even competition, they’ll be able to compete for a top 8 spot but miss out in my reckoning.

    • Roar Guru

      February 18th 2017 @ 8:37am
      The Barry said | February 18th 2017 @ 8:37am | ! Report

      Looking forward to seeing Tommy Turbo play uninjured. He really is one of the most exciting young players in the game. He was outstanding last season on one leg. If he has a storming start to the season I’d have him in an origin wingers jersey – particularly with Mansauce out injured.

      For Manly to have a good season, so many pieces need to fall in place for them. The following questions need to be answered?

      Can DCE return to form and provide a million bucks of value?
      How much will they miss Matai, Lyon, Buhrer and Stewart?
      Is Green the solid player that showed out for the Storm or just a seven club journeyman?
      Can Uate and Miles return to their best or are they washed up?
      Are their new signings NRL quality Lane, Perrett, Cullen, Sironen and Hastings are unproven at NRL standard.
      Can Barrett coach? Will he be allowed to coach?
      Will Jono Wright be allowed near the first grade 17?

      That seems like a lot of unknowns going into a season which could make it tough for them. If everything falls into place they could scrape into 7th or 8th. If not they could be 15th. I reckon about 11th or 12th.

      They have signed a few ex-Bulldogs (Lane, Perrett, Green, Wright, Myles and Taupau) so that should hold them in good stead…?

      • February 18th 2017 @ 9:26am
        peeeko said | February 18th 2017 @ 9:26am | ! Report

        gee, thats a lot list of maybes

    • February 18th 2017 @ 10:47am
      Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 10:47am | ! Report

      Manly will make the 8.
      They have more depth in the halves than any team in the comp.
      Origin, or injuries will not hamper their run.

      Hastings will go from zero to hero. He is the best defensive half in the competition and I highly rate his kicking game. He could easily make the transition to hooker if and when required.

      • February 18th 2017 @ 11:24am
        Ben said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:24am | ! Report

        I seriously don’t understand how the Roosters could let Hastings go. He’s a gun!

        • February 18th 2017 @ 11:45am
          Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:45am | ! Report

          Seven words.

          Mitchell Pearce is Nick Politis’s love child.

      • February 18th 2017 @ 11:47am
        kk said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:47am | ! Report

        Dean,
        It was refreshing to read Jackson Hastings admitting publicly that his attitude at Easts
        was entirely his own fault. Further, his crook foot has been operated on.

        His attacking ability is awesome and as you pointed out his defence stats are in the
        same category, though I did have doubts erroneously based on a couple of attempts.

        It could be said that Jackson Hastings is the best Manly recruit since John O’Neill
        and/or Jamie Lyon. Manly have the ability to score snap tries from anywhere on the
        paddock. If they don’t make the top 8 they will play a big part in which teams do.

        • Roar Guru

          February 18th 2017 @ 11:53am
          eagleJack said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:53am | ! Report

          I was also very happy to see Jackson with a respectable haircut. And a clean shaven face, getting rid of that hideous beard.

          Getting dumped by a club after being told how talented he is his entire life, could well be the catalyst for him to realise his potential. He’s certainly making the right noises at this stage.

          • February 18th 2017 @ 1:15pm
            kk said | February 18th 2017 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

            I just read that he will be starting at Gosford. Exciting to see the talent on display.

            Looking forward to seeing 3 games full. Hope the thunderstorms are elsewhere.

        • February 18th 2017 @ 6:37pm
          Kevin Malone said | February 18th 2017 @ 6:37pm | ! Report

          So a guy who got dropped to reserves at a club that came 15th and had never done anything is a huge buy ?

          • February 18th 2017 @ 8:11pm
            Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 8:11pm | ! Report

            Take a look at this and then continue to fool yourself that he’s a reserve grade player.

            • February 19th 2017 @ 7:39am
              kk said | February 19th 2017 @ 7:39am | ! Report

              Many times I have watched that montage which led me to seriously
              declaring him the next Bob Fulton.

              This young man with a pedigree to match his skill is breathtaking in
              execution and can read a game three plays ahead.

              Manly Sea Eagles through the good fortune of neighbourly connection
              have won Lotto and for the relative price of a minimum quickpick.

            • February 19th 2017 @ 7:47am
              bearfax said | February 19th 2017 @ 7:47am | ! Report

              Quite outstanding footage, Dean. He has a well developed sense of positioning and passing and is quite unselfish in the way he uses the ball. He has an almost Cliffy Lyons ability. If he continues to develop and avoid the silliness that caused him problems, he could make one outstanding hooker or five eighth. And at only 21 he has the World at his feet.

            • February 19th 2017 @ 10:19am
              Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:19am | ! Report

              Roosters flicked him pretty quickly

      • February 18th 2017 @ 2:47pm
        Shane said | February 18th 2017 @ 2:47pm | ! Report

        Yeah they’ve decent depth- but they’re not alone. For example Titans are going OK for depth in the halves with , Elgey, Taylor, Roberts & Hayne with as a back Karl Lawton also pushing for debut in 2017. Another club with good depth is the panthers. Martin and Cleary with backups like Wallace, Moylan, Peachey and Cartwright

        • February 18th 2017 @ 8:13pm
          Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 8:13pm | ! Report

          The Titans are my smokies this year.

          The Panthers will go OK if they can learn to tackle – Peach and Carty miss a motza between them.

          • February 19th 2017 @ 11:06am
            bearfax said | February 19th 2017 @ 11:06am | ! Report

            Titans have an outstanding backline and a solid forward pack. Yep they could be a real surprise packet. Penrith and Canberra were my picks for the G/F

            • February 19th 2017 @ 12:49pm
              The spectator said | February 19th 2017 @ 12:49pm | ! Report

              On last yrs form thats the gf id like to watch if no Eagles ??

            • Roar Guru

              February 20th 2017 @ 7:57am
              The Barry said | February 20th 2017 @ 7:57am | ! Report

              Do the Titans have an outstanding backline?

              Yesterday it was Roberts at fullback, Don and Zilman on the wing, Olive and Davis in the centres and Elgey and Taylor in the halves.

              Obviously Hayne and Hurrell will slot in but the rest of the 3/4s are handy at best. I’m really excited about the Elgey / Taylor prospect but they’re an untested combination and both entering their second season.

              They’ll be good to watch but I don’t think they’re laydown miseres for the 8 at all.

              The Titans bandwagon is rolling…

      • February 18th 2017 @ 6:35pm
        Kevin Malone said | February 18th 2017 @ 6:35pm | ! Report

        Depth ? There starting 6 is a journeyman called Blake green

        • February 18th 2017 @ 8:04pm
          Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 8:04pm | ! Report

          Huh?

          Is it a different Blake Green to the one that went within a whisker of having a premiership ring on his finger just 4 months ago?

          Regardless, I think Hastings will fill the spot.

          Even Cullen is better equipped to the position that’s been vacated by Dylan Walker.

          • February 19th 2017 @ 10:20am
            Kevin Malone said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:20am | ! Report

            Yeah, Tim glasby nearly won a ring as well

            • February 21st 2017 @ 5:23am
              NSWelshman said | February 21st 2017 @ 5:23am | ! Report

              Mate you should get over yourself lolol. It’s taken the Sharks half a century to win a premiership & suddenly you rubbish the Sea Eagles & make out like the Sharks are world beaters….oh yeah what was the score in the World Club Challenge?? Melbourne & Manly are arguably the 2 best teams of the past decade………what have the Sharks achieved?? One premiership lololol.

    • February 18th 2017 @ 11:23am
      Ben said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:23am | ! Report

      I predict the DCE will be talked up like a superstar of the game, but play like your average, run of the mill half back.

      … He’s made a career from it!

      • February 18th 2017 @ 11:42am
        Dean - Surry Hills said | February 18th 2017 @ 11:42am | ! Report

        DCE has severely missed Foran.
        Corey Norman looked like a superstar when he had him by his side.
        It’s Sean Johnson’s turn to benefit if Foran can stay both mentally and physically fit.

        DCE this year has backup from Green, Hastings, and Cullen.
        Barrett has recruited exceptionally well in the halves department.

        I expect DCE to return to his previous scintillating form.

        • Roar Guru

          February 20th 2017 @ 8:00am
          The Barry said | February 20th 2017 @ 8:00am | ! Report

          Problem with DCE is that he needs to deliver a million bucks of value to be a break even prospect.

          He can have a very good season of a 800k player but he’s still not pulling his weight for the eagles.

          On that sort of money you really can’t offer excuses like “I need a different halves partner”.

      • February 18th 2017 @ 2:50pm
        Shane said | February 18th 2017 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

        Hard to disagree. But let’s not forget at one stage Lockyer was talking him up as the next Kangaroos Captain. If DCE doesnt deliver soon he really is going to go down as the greatest phantom of the modern era.

        • February 18th 2017 @ 7:32pm
          Ben said | February 18th 2017 @ 7:32pm | ! Report

          I’m not sure what it is. Looks, the way they run, the style of hair or how good they look in the shower etc etc. But there are players in all sports that seem to get endless amounts of hype or recognition for almost nothing.

          Jamal Idris fits this mould… Braith Anasta made an entire career off it. Players that are average – maybe good at best. Yet are always talked about as “stars” of the game.

          DCE is the NRL’s biggest recipient of this praise atm. It’s becoming very clear that ANY player that plays on the inside of Keiran Foran will get likely undeserved praised. That’s a reflection of just how good Foran is.

    • February 18th 2017 @ 2:53pm
      Shane said | February 18th 2017 @ 2:53pm | ! Report

      Agreed that Foran is a phenomenal player who makes his halves partners look better (as is Cronk and to a lesser degree Thurston at the Storm and Cowboys respectively)
      But Corey Norman is in fact a superstar, mark my words. And that ain’t got nothing to do with Foran.

      • February 19th 2017 @ 10:28am
        Dean - Surry Hills said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:28am | ! Report

        Agree Shane – Norman has the goods.

        So do DCE and SJ.

        It may well be Foran’s ability to motivate players around him, and not just his bruising defence.

        Parramatta looked invincible when he was at the helm, as did The Sea Eagles, and New Zealand when they beat the Kangaroos twice in a row (a feat that had not been achieved in more than 50 years).

        • February 19th 2017 @ 10:10pm
          Shane said | February 19th 2017 @ 10:10pm | ! Report

          Dean- Yes but No
          Totally agree that a world class half can make his halves partner look very good. Think of Foran, Cronk & Thurston and more importantly the success and reputation of their club half partners. In Cronks instance both Widdop and now Green have cashed in on this good fortune and conned Dragons and Manly into paying overs for mid tier talent.
          However you are missing my point regarding Corey Norman. DCE is missing Foran – you said so yourself.
          But at Parra Corey Norman was far superior than Mid Tier before Foran arrived and will continue to be after Foran has left. I agree with Foran next to him he is even better again but that’s not my point. The point is that Norman is a superstar in his own right- Foran or not. DCE, Widdop, Morgan and Blake Green are at a few levels below.
          Norman would have played 3 to 4 years of origin if he was a blue. With the 2 players who have kept him out of the Qld team being DCE and in recent times Michael Morgan. Who coincidentally both had partners who were world class halves at club level at the time they made origin.
          Granted with Thurston next to him at Origin that Morgan hasn’t let anybody down- I’d like to see him step up without Cronk or JT on the field before labelling him anything more than mid tier next to DCE, Widdop and Blake Green.

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