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Manly season 2015 preview

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by tookey, Feb 11, 2015.

  1. tookey

    tookey Well-Known Member 2017 Tipping Competitor

    +5,796 /186
    Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 2015 Preview

    Season 2014 can only be described as the one that got away for Manly.

    Continuing on from their success of recent seasons in which they made two out of the last three Grand Finals, they were again expected to challenge for the title and it didn't take long for the high flying Sea Eagles to show their class producing some quality performances from the get go.


    For a team who's had so much success it's quite rare to be largely unaffected through representative duties, losing only
    Daly Cherry-Evans and Anthony Watmough to Origin mid-year. It was through this testing period for many other clubs that the boys from the Northern beaches made their move to the top of the ladder, a position they would hold for eight straight weeks until the Roosters pipped them for the minor premiership in the last round.

    The writing was probably on the wall a month earlier though when eventual premiers South Sydney steamrolled them in a brutal encounter at the SCG. From there, Manly's form was mixed winning only two of their last five, losing key players Matt Ballin and Jamie Buhrer along the way.

    Never fully recovering from their previous encounter they were again rolled by Souths in week one of the finals and despite a gallant effort a week later, were knocked out by another team with a monstrous forward pack, the Bulldogs.

    All reports suggest the winds of change are sweeping through fortress Brookvale this off season. Long serving club stalwarts and renowned hard men Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart and Jason King have moved on leaving giant boots to fill for the men stepping in.

    It appears the Sea Eagles have gone for more size to replace them with Willie Mason and Luke Burgess coming in to try and provide more muscle up front to match the bigger packs in the comp.Feleti Mateo has also arrived and will be charged with trying to offset some of the skill they have lost with Glenn Stewart's departure.

    The playing group will also have to deal with the ongoing speculation about discontent in the ranks with plenty of reports floating around about key players Brett Stewart, Kieran Foran and Steve Mataiall looking to leave the club at season's end or in Matai's case, before a ball is even kicked.

    Much has been made about the tight knit bond the players have formed over the years and how the walls are starting to crumble. Write them off at your own peril though. Even if reports about players leaving are correct, expect them to see this as their last chance to taste success together and there's certainly enough class in them to be there when the whips are cracking once again.

    EXPERIENCE - The majority of this playing group have tasted premiership success and know what it takes to win when the big games roll around.
    FORTRESS BROOKIE - It's hard to think of a ground opposition teams hate travelling to more. The Sea Eagles only lost one game at home last season and even that was a golden point thriller way back in round one. Winning the majority of their home games again will ensure they finish high enough on the ladder to challenge.
    CLASS - Manly still possess one of the great backlines of all time. The game has changed a lot recently with many teams adopting a more structured game plan and sticking to it. Whilst Manly have some great structure and set plays themselves, it's their ability to adapt and play what they see in front of them that often stands their attack out from the rest.

    DISTRACTIONS - While many players say it doesn't affect their on field performance, surely the amount of speculation about players futures would weigh them down somewhat.
    SIZE - Last year they couldn't match it with the brute power and force of the eventual grand finalists showing the importance of the skilful big man in the game today. Whilst they have signed Mason and Burgess to help with this, neither play big minutes and will need plenty of help to go toe to toe with the best.
    DEPTH - It appears there's a real lack of quality below the core playing group and if injury strikes to some of their key players it would leave a hole too big to overcome.


    Brett Stewart
    Whilst a large part of Manly's attack revolves around superstar halves pairing Cherry-Evans and Foran, its Stewart providing his spark from the back that makes them near unstoppable. Gifted with pure class and speed, his involvement not only makes him an attacking threat, but forces his teammates around him to move that half a yard quicker.

    Clinton Gutherson
    Seen as the heir apparent to Stewart's number one jersey, Gutherson will be hoping to earn a spot on Manly's flanks in the meantime. A tall rangy and highly elusive type, Gutherson has represented the NSW under 20's and junior Kangaroos for the past two years. He has played four NRL games so far, scoring a try in each appearance.

    Gains - Blake Leary (Cowboys), Sosaia Vave (Sharks), Feleti Mateo (Warriors), Brayden Williame (Knights), Willie Mason (Knights), Luke Burgess (Rabbitohs)
    Losses - Anthony Watmough (Eels), Richie Fa'aoso (Eels), Glenn Stewart (Rabbitohs), Jason King(Retired), Daniel Harrison (London)

    1. Brett Stewart
    2. Peta Hiku
    3. Jamie Lyon
    4. Steve Matai
    5. Jorge Taufua
    6. Kieran Foran
    7. Daly Cherry-Evans
    8. Brenton Lawence
    9. Matt Ballin
    10. Willie Mason
    11. Justin Horo
    12. Jamie Buhrer
    13. Feleti Mateo
    Interchange: 14. Tom Symonds 15. Luke Burgess 16. Josh Starling 17. Jesse Sene-Lafao
  2. The Who

    The Who Well-Known Member Premium Member

    +7,250 /173
    One sentence stands out: "Write them off at your peril!"
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