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Sea Eagles depth shines brightly once again

There were plenty of strong positives to once again come out of the Sea Eagles opening Pre-Season Challenge against the Sydney Roosters on Saturday.

Under the guidance of acting coach Jim Dymock for the match, a young and inexperienced Sea Eagles team, featuring just a few NRL players, were more than competitive against an almost full strength Roosters outfit at Industree Group Stadium in Gosford.

Similar to last week's trial win over Souths, Manly again rested their major players ahead of their historic NRL season opener against the Rabbitohs at Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas on March 2.

Leading 12-10 at half-time, Manly had a chance to draw level at 24-all with nine minutes remaining, only to miss a conversion attempt next to the posts. The Roosters then ran in two late tries to take a 36-22 victory.

It again highlighted the quality and depth the Sea Eagles have across the squad this season.

“We turned up with a good attitude. It was a good effort by the boys.,’’ Dymock said.

Follow me boys....captain Toff Sipley scores against the Roosters
Follow me boys....captain Toff Sipley scores against the Roosters ©NRL Media

“The first half we played really well. We had a few opportunities that we missed and against a good side like that, you have to take them.

“The boys didn’t back down. With inexperience, you get youth, speed and energy but we got back in the game there in the second half at 24-22 but missed a goal.

“From the re-start, we needed the set to be a really good one but we made an error, so there are some learnings there from that. The younger guys will be better for it.

“We got through the game injury free, so that’s a bonus.”

The only concern for the Sea Eagles is prop Toff Sipley is facing a 3-4 week suspension after being charged with a Grade 2 Crusher Tackle on Roosters winger Dominic Young.

Dymock said he was impressed by youngsters Clayton Faulalo and Lehi Hopoate, the son of powerful 1996 club premiership winning winger John. His brother, Will, also won a premiership with Manly in 2011.

“Lehi showed some of his ability. He hasn’t grown into his body as of yet but we know he is going to get a body because of his Dad,’’ Dymock added.

“For his age, he has got an old head on young shoulders.

“I thought Clayton did really well too in the centres. They are two to watch out for.”

The Sea Eagles tackle the Brisbane Broncos in the final round of the NRL Pre-Season Challenge at 4 Pines Park, Brookvale, on Saturday, February 24, at 5.55pm. 

It will be the Broncos first appearance at Brookvale in almost 10 years. To celebrate the occasion, 2024 Sea Eagles Members will be admitted free.

"The Broncos match will be another opportunity for the young guys to pull on the Manly jersey and show what they have got,'' Dymock said.

“If they are needed or called on (for the NRL), then they are ready to go."


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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