Confidence high in camp ahead of season opener versus Bulldogs
February 26, 2016 3:51pm
Manly Coach Trent Barrett during the Auckland Nines at Eden Park, Auckland, New Zealand.
IT WAS hot in the early evening on Wednesday night – bloody hot.
It was even hotter in a suit and tie waiting for a ferry for close to an hour
The entire Sea Eagles playing roster and coaching staff were dropped at the wharf by airconditioned coach but a dream run in the traffic got them there way ahead of schedule.
There was no choice but to enjoy the view because the team’s entry to the 2016 season launch at Luna Park in Milsons Point was timed for a 6pm arrival to ensure live coverage on commercial television news.
We are now less than a week from kick-off and expectations are high on the peninsula for Trent Barrett and his new-look side.
Don’t let the quiet, level, laid-back attitude of the country boy from Temora suck you in.
He may not have coached one game in the NRL yet but he has no fears about the job ahead.
It is a massive mountain to climb, starting with the Des Hasler-coached Bulldogs next Friday night.
Barrett admitted to nerves before the big game. He knows it is important to get a good start in the premiership race.
He knows he is at a club that expects to win.
For a long time, he has admired the Manly tenacity and will to win from outside.
Now he will find out what it is like from the inside.
Manly coach Trent Barrett.
Dressed to impress
THE rebuilding at Manly hasn’t just been on the playing roster.
There have been significant commercial gains, with record sponsorship on the famous jersey. Every available window has been taken and a waiting list.
As a result, the Sea Eagles will file onto the field behind Jamie Lyon on Friday night in one of the most commercially valuable jerseys of the 16 clubs in the NRL.
And this despite a rotten draw in terms of times and days to play in 2016.
Membership slowed when the draw was announced, with Mondays, Thursdays and few Sunday afternoon games handed to the club.
But membership is now 18 per cent higher than this time last year.
Strength in depth
MANLY have some of highest-profile players in the NRL on its 2016 roster.
But there are a few lesser-known players who have busted their guts at training and will appear in the top side at some stage of the season in vital roles.
Nathan Green, Halauafu Lavaka, Siosaia Vave and Addin Fonua-Blake have been among the hardest workers since training started last November.
Vave has stunned everyone and his transformation has been incredible.
He played last year at 135kg and struggled. Right now he is 117kg and headed for a target of 115kg.