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Sea Eagles Season Preview: Harold Matthews Cup

A huge contingent of exciting local juniors are set to feature across the Manly Sea Eagles Harold Matthews Cup team in 2024.

We sat down with Head Coach Jordan Meredith to get his thoughts ahead of the team's first game against St George Dragons at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah, on Saturday, February 10, after having a bye in round one.

Meredith is the son of former Manly five-eighth Martin Meredith, who played 48 first grade games for the Sea Eagles over eight seasons. He himself played junior reps for Manly..

Brook Eadie and Chris Nero are the Assistant Coaches of the Harold Matthews Cu team.

The Sea Eagles last won the Harold Matthews Cup in 2021 after claiming their maiden title in 2018.

WC: What impresses you about this squad?

JM: The fact that we have 22 local juniors who have come together and gelled very well on the social and cultural fronts. They have enjoyed each other’s company and by doing that, it makes their football more competitive. I’ve tried to install in the players that not everyone can make the team, but they can still be proud to represent the Sea Eagles. To make it this far already is an awesome achievement.

WC: Where do our strengths lie?

JM: I think it comes down to just the camaraderie, the culture and the resilience amongst the group. They all care about each other and want to stick up for one another. All of this will hold them in good stead for the year.”

WC: How did you come to choosing your captain and vice-captain. What made them stand out in the pre-season?

JM: Reilly Caswell will captain the team with Hussein Said the vice-captain. These two players demonstrated leadership, kindness and gained the respect of all their peers by their efforts. It’s not necessarily their the most skillful or talented people in the team but they have earnt it through their hard work.

Coach Jordan Meredith with Captain Reilly Caswell (left) and vice-captain Hussein Said
Coach Jordan Meredith with Captain Reilly Caswell (left) and vice-captain Hussein Said ©Matthew Long (Lock and Load Photos)

WC: Every team’s goal is to make the finals, but outside of this, it’s about the development of the players, on and off the field. How important is this?

JM: We are trying to develop them to understand how to play the game and give them an opportunity to play at a high level in a very strong NSW competition. It will expose them to the challenges but also the opportunities that can lay ahead. Our challenge is to be competitive but to also be in a position where they can take risks and show how good they can be, rather than fall into a shell.

WC: Who are the players to look out for this season?

JM: Full-back Reilly Caswell won the Jake Trbojevic Medal last year. He wants to become a better leader and wants to teach others, which is a really important part of being a leader.  Prop Finau Tuionetoa is learning to become a more aggressive player. He is one of the fittest players in the team and is a giant of a kid at around 105 kilos. He is just a wonderful kid. Beau Mckee is a year younger (than the grade). He is an aggressive footballer who is very talented and has made a lot of school rep teams. He is progressing really well.”

2024 Sea Eagles Harold Matthews Cup draw

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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