First up at 5:45pm at Brookvale Oval will be the new-look Under 20s side taking on the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs. After a grand-final loss in 2015, the ‘baby Sea Eagles’ will be looking to do one better this season, but only five remain in this week’s team list from last year’s side.
The first grade team will then take on the Bulldogs at 8:05pm. Going up against Des’ Dogs is always a battle with the likes of Sam Kasiano and Greg Eastwood, but a big crowd at Fortress Brookie will bring the Manly boys home to kick off the season with a win.
Then finally on Saturday Manly’s NSW Cup team will take on Wests Tigers at Campbelltown. A star-studded line up for reserve grade should see some quality football played, especially from the forwards trying to fight for a spot in first grade.
Jake Trbojevic – the man of the people. Winning the Sea Eagles’ best & fairest at the 2015 Awards night, he will be playing only his 25th game in the top level. Trbojevic is a Manly-Warringah junior and a crowd favourite. The hard hitting forward averaged over 100 running metres in every game last season and his enthusiasm and passion for the team is vital to secure a win.
After stellar performances on the wing in the Auckland Nines and at both trial games, Halauafu Lavaka will put on the maroon and white jersey for the first time in the NSW Cup. More impressively, Lavaka scored an astonishing five tries in the reserve grade trial against Wests Devils. Whilst his name may be tricky to pronounce, Manly supporters should start practicing because the 22-year-old will be one not to forget.
Nicho Hynes is a veteran of the National Youth Competition, this year being his third season. The five-eighth kicked the magical field goal that got the ‘baby Sea Eagles’ into the Under 20’s grand final last season. Already impressing spectators in the first grade trial against the Cronulla Sharks at the raw age of 19, Hynes will be carving up the Holden Cup this season.