Manly target youngsters for NRL success

New captain Daly Cherry-Evans is the man charged with building the next generation of NRL success at Manly after another summer of departures at Brookvale.

The retired Jamie Lyon will almost certainly be joined by injured veterans Brett Stewart and Steve Matai out the exit gates, meaning no players remain from their dominant team of the noughties.

Fittingly, Cherry-Evans is also now the only player left from the 2011 premiership win, as the Sea Eagles place their faith in a crop of youngsters.

“It is a bit of a changing of the guard,” coach Trent Barrett said.

However it’s the man alongside Cherry-Evans – Blake Green – who could make the biggest difference.

Cherry-Evans was forced to play alongside five different five-eighths last season as the club struggled to find a No.6 and had their worst attacking record since their emergence from the Northern Eagles merger.

With the recruitment of Green from Melbourne, Barrett is looking forward to that changing.

“It’s been pretty evident at training,” Barrett said.

“The influence that Blake Green has on the way we play and I guess how controlled we are – he’s certainly cleared Cherry up.”

Key to Cherry-Evans’ performance, Barrett believes, will be further stability in the spine.

Tom Trbojevic will shift to fullback, taking over from Stewart.

“Brett Stewart has been such a fantastic player for Manly and he’s been a huge part of the success they’ve had over the past decade,” Barrett said.

“But we’ve got Tom there and Tom is probably a different player to what Snake was. He is still learning, he’s still developing but he’s going to be one hell of a player.”

The hooking role will also be more stable, with the release of Matt Parcell to the English Super League, paving the way for Api Koroisau to start.

Jackson Hastings from the Sydney Roosters will then likely come off the bench, with his expertise in the halves, at hooker and ability to play at the back positioning him for the utility role.

Hastings is one of several players arriving at Manly with a point to prove.

Jonathan Wright, Shaun Lane, Lloyd Perrett, Curtis Sironen and Akuila Uate all spent time in reserve grade last year.

And Barrett said he had been most impressed with former Wests Tigers back-rower Sironen’s drive in the pre-season.

Meanwhile former Gold Coast youngster Brian Kelly is expected to fill Matai’s role in the centres.

MANLY SEA EAGLES

Premierships: 8 – 1972, 1973, 1976, 1978, 1987, 1996, 2008, 2011

Finishes over the past three seasons: 2016: 13th 2015 – 9th, 2014 – semi-finalists

Coach: Trent Barrett

Captain: Daly Cherry-Evans

Gains: Cameron Cullen, Brian Kelly (Gold Coast), Blake Green (Melbourne), Jonathan Wright, Shaun Lane (Warriors), Lloyd Perrett (Canterbury), Curtis Sironen (Wests Tigers), Akuila Uate (Newcastle), Jarrad Kennedy (Canberra)

Losses: Jamie Buhrer, Josh Starling (Newcastle), Luke Burgess, Brayden Wiliame (Catalans), Isaac John, Nathan Green, Blake Leary, Feleti Mateo (released), Liam Knight (Sydney Roosters), Matt Parcel (Leeds), Tony Satini (Penrith), Siosaia Vave (Parramatta)

Strength: Daly Cherry-Evans should return to somewhere near his best with a stable and established five-eighth playing alongside him in Blake Green.

Weakness: For the best part of a decade Manly had the best backline in the competition. That era is now over and so too is their dominance out wide and at the back.

Best team: Tom Trbojevic, Jorge Taufua, Dylan Walker, Brian Kelly, Brad Parker, Blake Green, Daly Cherry-Evans, Brenton Lawrence, Apisai Koroisau, Darcy Lussick, Martin Taupau, Curtis Sironen, Jake Trbojevic, Jackson Hastings, Nate Myles, Addin Fonua-Blake, Shaun Lane.

Predicted finish: 12th

Betting: $26

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
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