After watching the last trial against the Roosters I couldn’t agree more with this - stand out performer for me and happy to see he’ll be rewarded. If Snake is impressed by him, I’m happy to take his opinion! https://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/s...h/news-story/a62a88f935390b31f8f5c4cfde821637 He’s the son of one former rugby league forward and evokes memories of another champion back-rower. Now he is the first bolter for the NRL season. Manly coach Des Hasler will play Corey Waddell in the Sea Eagles’ round-one match against Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval on Saturday. With forwards Kelepi Tanginoa and Taniela Paseka unavailable through injury, Hasler will add second-rower Waddell into Manly’s top 17 following his impressive trial form and praise from former Test star Noel Cleal and Manly great Brett Stewart, who likens him to champion big man Ben Kennedy. Waddell, 22, is a Penrith junior who played in the Panthers’ 2015 premiership-winning under-20s team and the club’s 2017 NSW Cup premiership-winning side. Corey’s father, Steve, played 89 games for Penrith and Illawarra between 1988 and 1997. He died of a heart attack in 2012 when Corey was just 15. Cleal, Manly’s recruitment guru, played against Steve, a hardened, uncompromising prop. “Steve was a tough competitor — what was in the cat has come out in the kitten,” Cleal said. “Corey is a tough kid. “He is a bit of a surprise packet because it’s not as though he is a household name but he has gained the respect of all the blokes at Manly.” Waddell hurt his pectoral in a trial match last season and missed half the year. Aware Penrith had strong depth in the back row, Waddell joined Manly this season — a decision which will hand him an NRL debut. “Corey was one of the first blokes that caught my eye at training,” said the legendary Stewart, who is now part of Manly’s coaching staff. “He has that running style of Ben Kennedy. That’s who I compare him to anyway. He has that toughness about him. “He was the first guy I asked about at training. “I am at Manly mainly helping the back five but I watch all the opposed stuff and he just has that footy brain. I think he will tighten things right up for Dessie. Defensively we have probably been a bit loose in the last couple of years. “Corey is only 22 years old but he looks more mature than that. He looks like he’s going to have a big year. He is a good kid who looks really fit and is willing to learn and work.” Waddell remembers his dad before every game. “I have this photo on my phone of my dad from his playing days that was taken from an old footy card,’’ Waddell told the Sea Eagles website. “It is very special to me.