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Having played finals only three times in the past nine seasons and not tasted premiership success since 2011, the boys from Brookvale need to rediscover their mojo and rekindle the fire that made them such a feared opponent over so many years.

The only club to have won a premiership in each of the past five decades (70s, 80s, 90s, 2000s, 2010s), the Sea Eagles are accustomed to success and their return of 20 wins, 27 losses and a draw across the past two seasons will sit well with no one at Manly HQ.

Champion fullback Tom Trbojevic has played just 18 of those 48 injuries due to shoulder and pectoral injuries and a key ingredient to a return to the finals is a full season from the 2021 Dally M Medal winner.

This is far from a one-man band, however, with the ageless Daly Cherry-Evans playing as well as ever at halfback while Tom’s brother Jake is the heart and soul of the club.

The arrival of Luke Brooks to partner DCE in the halves means Manly boast the most experienced scrumbase pairing in the NRL with 510 games between them.

Brooks will relish the opportunity to be part of a team that has the firepower to play finals and Cherry-Evans will relish the chance to share the kicking duties and not carry the burden for every last-tackle option.

Having struggled to find his best form in 14 games at five-eighth in 2023, Josh Schuster can go back to an edge and be a constant threat to defences with his silky skills by hand and foot.

NRL Fantasy club by club: Sea Eagles

Predicted Round 1 team

1. Tom Trbojevic

2. Jaxson Paulo

3. Reuben Garrick

4. Tolu Koula

5. Jason Saab

6. Luke Brooks

7. Daly Cherry-Evans

8. Toafofoa Sipley

9. Lachlan Croker

10. Taniela Paseka

11. Haumole Olakauatu

12. Josh Schuster

13. Jake Trbojevic

14. Jake Arthur

15. Josh Aloiai

16. Ben Trbojevic

17. Aitasi James

Key Changes

Ins: luke Brooks (Wests Tigers), Jaxson Paulo (Roosters), Aitasi James (Wests Tigers).

Outs: Kelma Tuilagi (Eels), Morgan Harper (Eels), Kaeo Weekes (Raiders), Sean Keppie (Rabbitohs)

Health Check

Christian Tuipulotu (knee, Round 1)
Josh Aloiai (shoulder, Round 1)
Karl Lawton (shoulder, Round 1)
Matt Lodge (knee, Round 4-8)

The Manly Way: Episode 4 - Manly Mentality Camp

Positional battle to watch

Manly’s posse of big men will square off for starting spots in the front row in 2024 as they look to lay the foundation for their star-studded backline to shine. Taniela Paseka is coming off a powerhouse season in which he started 18 games at prop, averaging 139 metres per match and delivering 18 offloads. Toafofoa Sipley racked up 15 games in 2023 with 11 of those as a starter, and at 120kg and 190cm he looms as a massive weapon for coach Anthony Seibold. Experienced campaigner Josh Aloiai played the majority of his games at lock in 2023 but moved to prop in round 20 and 21 and performed strongly before a shoulder injury ended his season. Also in the mix are new boy Aitasi James, who joins the club from Wests Tigers, and 28-year-old Matt Lodge, who has earned a spot in the Top 30 after moving across from the Roosters midway through 2023 looking for an opportunity. At 188cm and 112kg, James brings size and power to the table and will look to add to his tally of five NRL games, while Lodge and fellow veteran Aaron Woods boast almost 300 NRL appearances between them and will keep the heat on their younger teammates for spots in the best 17.

Acknowledgement of Country

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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