If the energy shown by the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles in the Holden Cup game last Sunday is an indication, there will be more victories than losses in 2017 after a painful season last year.
2016 was a disaster year, finishing the season with the dreaded spoon. A new season brings new hope every year, and in the case of the Sea Eagles, a new coach in the experienced Wayne Lambkin.
Lambkin previously coached the North Sydney NSW Cup (2007-2015), Canterbury NSW Cup (2005-2006), and Penrith NYC (2003-04) teams.
Under his reign, the Sea Eagles opened their account with an impressive 38-20 victory over Parramatta at Lottoland last Sunday.
“The most pleasing part was just the energy that was provided, a bit of desire, and a bit of a will. I think they surprised themselves really that they were capable of doing what they did,’’ Lambkin said.
“We hadn’t done a lot of work on structure. We did a lot of work on their fitness and working on their defence. To come out and score seven tries was very pleasing, a few of them were off nice structured plays.
“They are all talented individuals. It is just now putting that into a team, and working out what each other is good at it, and being able to support that. Knowing what the player next to you plays like.
“Based off the back of last year, there is just a real desire to do better. They are a year older, even though a lot of them are still first year players.
“We spoke about gratitude and how this club has given them opportunities. When you put the Manly jersey on, go out there and play like you want to be a part of it. You want to be successful and don’t just take it for granted which some young kids do.”
In a fine team performance, Billy Bainbridge, Josh Martin, and captain Cade Cust had strong games but it was former winger turned centre, Tevita Funa, who impressed Lambkin.
“Everything Tevita touched turned to gold. He has always had that ability. He just needed to fine tune what he did. What he had to was be more effective,’’ Lambkin added.
“He belongs in the centres. He topped the run metres with 172 metres for the game and 18 points scored. Tevita trialled well and it was no fluke that he went out and played well.”
Lambkin said the trap now was not to be complacent up against a big Souths side at Lottoland this Saturday. The Rabbitohs lost 30-28 to Wests Tigers.
“Souths are a big mobile side with quick outside backs. They will test your middle out, your ruck speed out. We have got a job in front of us to control them in the ruck area. If we do that, we are a chance,’’ Lambkin said.
“We just can’t get carried away with what we did last week. It won’t ensure we have a win this week. We have to work hard.”
Manly team to play Souths, Saturday, March 12, 3.15pm Lottoland
Kick-off time is 3.15pm. Gates open 3pm.
Holden Cup team
1 Luke Polselli 2 Bilal Maarbani 3 Tevita Funa 4 Blake Andrews 5 Alfred Smalley 6 Cade Cust (C) 7 Manase Fainu 8 Jaiden Tarrant 9 John Neil 10 John Tasi Tuivaiti 11 Jesse Martin 12 Josh Martin 13 Billy Bainbridge; Interchange: 14 Elia Faatui 15 Joseph Ma’u 16 Haumole Olakau’atu 17 Amoni Tufui 19 Eduard Wulf 20 Kurtis Preece 21 Tom Wright 22 Trey Brown 23 Eddie Ieremia