Not for the first time, the Sea Eagles defied the critics in 2013, rubbishing claims of an ageing roster by charging into the grand final.
It’s been a trend in recent years. Experts have put the red pen through their finals credentials, claiming that they were simply too old and lacked depth.
Yet, the Sea Eagles, the team with the so-called ‘ageing roster’, are on the verge of creating history this season.
Should the club finish inside the top-eight in 2014, the Sea Eagles will have become the only team in the past decade to compete in every finals series.
Manly said farewell to a number of experienced front rowers at the end of last season, again leaving critics asking questions of last year’s grand finalists.
But Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey has slammed the doubters, adamant his side will succeed in spite of criticism.
“They’ve been saying the same thing for the last four or five years. We still managed to bat above our weight and I think we’ll do the same this year,” He said.
The Sea Eagles welcome a host of young recruits to the club who will be vying for a spot in Toovey’s 17 in 2014, with the departure of several key big men opening the door for selection wide open.
“We’ve got some great young players coming through. It doesn’t negate the loss of experience from last year, but that’s the card we’ve been dealt and we’ll do our best,” Toovey said.
“We’ve got a very good squad. Again, we’ve lost a lot of experience in the front-row but we make up for that in other areas.”