The tight culture amongst the playing group and the opportunity for some young players to get a taste of the NRL are the most pleasing factors for Manly Coach Anthony Seibold following today's trial match.
The Sea Eagles overcame a 6-0 early deficit to run out convincing 68-6 winners, with both sides resting their key men ahead of the Pre-Season Challenge beginning next week.
Both clubs will meet again in Las Vegas on March 2 for the historic NRL Double Header to kick the season off.
“Obviously, the Rabbitohs rested the bulk of their top 30 today but we probably had 13 or 14 players that didn’t play as well. You can only play the opposition that is in front of you,’’ Seibold said.
“The thing I liked about us today was just the connection. I think you saw all our non-players in Manly shirts sitting on the sideline watching their mates.
“It wasn’t compulsory, it was optional today, so to see that was something that I’m really proud of.
“Some of the young guys got an opportunity like Jamie Humphreys. Lehi Hopoate, and Jakob Sykes. These young guys have come through our Pathways for a little while now, so to see them actually pull on a jersey with a couple of guys who have played first grade was really pleasing.
“It’s not even an official trial. We have been working really hard on building a club that is well connected, so it’s good.”
Seibold said he was pleased with what he saw from new five-eighth Luke Brooks for the first time.
“Brooksy was good. We just wanted him to put a Manly jersey on. He has had a good pre-season,’’ Seibold added.
“We feel that number six jersey will take some pressure off him with having ‘Chez’ (Daly Cherry-Evans) and Tom Trbojevic) in key positions around him.
“It was good to see him play a little bit of footy. We want him to use his natural ability which is take short sides, take the line on, and use his kicking game.
“We saw bits and pieces of that today, so it was really pleasing.”
Another positive sign for Seibold was the strong performances shown by second-rower Ben Trbojevic, who crossed for a hat-trick, and winger Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega. Both are fighting for spots in the team to start the season.
“Ben was really good today. Obviously, we will come up against a lot stronger opposition next week,’’ Seibold added.
“I thought Ray was good too. That is one spot (left wing) that there is real competition for spots. Jaxson (Paulo), Ray, and Tommy Talau are all really pushing for that spot.
“Obviously, ‘Saaby’s has got the right wing position nailed. Tolu Koula and Reuben Garrick in the centres, and Tommy Trbojevic at full-back.
“We want genuine competition for spots and that jersey is up for grabs along with that left edge back-rower, so we want to see those guys again next week.
“Again, it will be a real step up in class. With all due respect, and nothing against the Bunnies, I think they had an inter-club trial with their best 26-27 playing yesterday. We understand that it was mostly part-timers and some of their younger guys.
“It was just about concentrating on us this week and to be able to play the way we did with a lot of energy and enterprise was pleasing.”