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Sironen expects combination with DCE, Suli to progress

With Daly Cherry-Evans on his left and Moses Suli on his right, Curtis Sironen is loving being back in the thick of Manly's attack.

The rejuvenated forward, who had a miserable 2017-18 with pectoral and then ACL injuries, had his best NRL season so far in 2019 in terms of the number of games played – 22.

In his five years with Wests Tigers he played 19 twice, but the last of those was 2015.

His worst year was 2018 with just four games due to the ACL reconstruction. The long lay-off meant getting reacquainted with his teammates on Manly's right edge.

"It took eight or nine weeks last year to find my feet again in the combination with Cherry and then Moses and Reuben [Garrick]," Sironen told NRL.com.

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"But personally I thought I was producing well in terms of what can I add each week to improve and how can I do the good stuff again and again.

"Dessie [Hasler] has been super-good for me in that way."

Alongside Hasler, Sironen credits Cherry-Evans and Suli for lighting up his play.

Thirty-four of Manly's 84 tries (40 per cent) in 2019 were scored in the right and centre-right channels.  Garrick was the club's top try scorer with 16.

For Sironen, a lot of the credit goes to his halfback and skipper.

"When I first came to the club [then coach] Trent Barrett told me of the opportunity to play with Cherry. That was a big thing for me and a big factor in me wanting to go to Manly," Sironen said.

Manly centre Moses Suli.
Manly centre Moses Suli. ©NRL Photos

"Getting to play with him is hard to explain. He's got great competitiveness and simplifies everything for myself and Moses and Reuben. He leads our little edge.

"It's taken me a while to get to really know how he plays. He runs the football a lot so things just come off that.

"It is unpredictable at times but I know if I'm there at the right time and do my job right, then Cherry is going to make me look good.

"On the other side, he doesn't get enough credit for how he rips in and defends, makes doubles [in tackling], his kick-chases. All that work is why he's the Origin and Australian halfback."

And then there's Suli, who at centre weighs 109kg or the same as Sironen although he's five centimetres taller than the back rower.

"When I was at the Tigers he was playing Harold Matthews and the sheer size of him impressed me back then," Sironen said.

"He's come through a couple of stop-starts and a year or so in limbo. But he's matured at Manly.

"I think Dessie has the magic effect on a lot of guys but he's had a lot of success with Moses.

Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans.
Manly halfback Daly Cherry-Evans. ©Paul Barkley/NRL Photos

"Des just gets on your case and doesn't let up and for some guys, that's just what they need.

"I think about that game against South Sydney in the semi-finals to give you an example of how far Moses has come."

Suli starred for the Sea Eagles despite the 34-26 loss. The 21-year-old made ground with every run – 11 tackle busts in 11 runs over 147 metres. He also had two line breaks and scored a try.