Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will field eight of their new players at the NRL Downer Auckland Nines tournament at Eden Park on the weekend of February 4-5.
Sea Eagles Coach Trent Barrett has today released his 18-man squad for the annual tournament which sees Manly taking on St George-Illawarra Dragons, Parramatta Eels, and the NZ Warriors, in the Piha Pool.
The Sea Eagles are the first NRL club to name their squad for the 2017 tournament that carries NZ $2.6 million dollars plus in prize-money. Matches are played over two nine-minute halves with nine players per team on the field.
Prop Brenton Lawrence has been named Sea Eagles captain. Lawrence played in the Nines for the first time last season.
New recruits Jono Wright, Brian Kelly, Akuila Uate, Cameron Cullen, Shaun Lane, Jarrad Kennedy, Curtis Sironen, and Lloyd Perrett will pull on the famous Sea Eagles colours for the first time in Auckland.
New Zealand Test player Martin Taupau has also been chosen after returning to pre-season training this week following the Four Nations tournament.
Manly junior Joey Lussick will make his first appearance for the Sea Eagles at a senior level after wearing the maroon and white jersey in the junior representative competitions. Lussick, Brian Kelly, Tom Wright, and Peter Schuster are the only players named in the squad yet to play in the NRL.
“I feel we have chosen a well-balanced squad. There is a good mixture of experienced senior players combined with a number of exciting young players who will have the chance to show what they can do,’’ Barrett said.
“We also have some very experienced senior players in the team, so I feel we have chosen a well-balanced squad.
“The Nines is a great tournament for the players to enjoy some footy after a long pre-season and a chance for some of the younger players to get some good exposure.
“I’ve rewarded Brenton with the captaincy as he is a player who is highly respected by his team-mates. He is a natural leader and is a very experienced player. The boys certainly look up to him.
“We are definitely going to the Nines with the view of being successful.”
The Sea Eagles reached the quarter-finals last year to achieve the club’s best result in the three-year history of the tournament.
Sea Eagles squad
Brenton Lawrence (c), Jono Wright, Matt Wright, Brian Kelly, Akuila Uate, Jorge Taufua, Pita Godinet, Cameron Cullen, Peter Schuster, Tom Wright, Joey Lussick, Shaun Lane, Frank Winterstein, Jarrad Kennedy, Curtis Sironen, Addin Fonua Blake, Martin Taupau, Lloyd Perrett.
Manly's matches (NZ times)
Saturday, February 4
1.15pm v Warriors
4.45pm: v Dragons
Sunday, February 5:
11.25am: v Eels
Quarter-finals 1.55pm; semi-finals 4.40pm, final 6.40pm.
Click here to order your Manly Nines jerseys.
Click here for tickets.