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High school connection has Manly wingers soaring

Manly winger Tommy Talau looks across the field, sees Jason Saab and briefly forgets he's playing in the NRL. 

Memories of the pair's exploits together at Westfield Sports High come rushing back, Talau playing in the halves while his close friend emerged as one of the most highly touted young wingers in the game.

Six years later and they have reunited at the Sea Eagles, Saab developing into one of the most athletic players in the NRL. 

So when Talau made the switch to the wing in the off-season, it didn't take him long to turn to his Manly teammate for advice.

Sea Eagles v Raiders – Round 9, 2024

"I've known him since way back," Talau told "When I was playing [halfback] at school, he was my winger. If I have any questions, I go to Jason. He's a top-quality winger in the competition, he's a machine. 

"It's crazy how far he's come [since high school], he's definitely got more in store for us."

Talau arrived at Manly last summer ready to stake his claim for a permanent position in the centres after four years at the Wests Tigers.

Tommy Talau Try

Sea Eagles coach Anthony Seibold had other ideas as he attempted to fit a host of talented outside backs on to the field. 

Talau acknowledges he could have caused a fuss when he was informed of the positional switch but has instead taken the challenge in his stride.  

It's still early days but the winger's combination with centre Tolu Koula is developing into a dangerous left edge.

Talau has scored four tries this season and he's confident there will be many more as the partnership builds. 

"Seibs wanted the best 17 to play on the field and if that's me as a winger, then I'm more than happy to do that," he said. "I'm a footy player at the end of the day so I'm not too fussed about where I play. 

"[Playing on the wing] was a little bit challenging early on, because it's a different position but I feel like I'm finding my feet, getting more comfortable and building more confidence. 

"I feel like I'm getting better each week and that's what I'm aiming to do, keep improving."

While Talau has made the move out to the wing, his Manly teammate Reuben Garrick has shifted into the centres and is now playing inside Saab on the right edge.

Reuben Garrick has thrived since moving to the centres this year.
Reuben Garrick has thrived since moving to the centres this year. ©NRL Photos

It's a change the Gerringong junior had been looking to make for some time, having played much of his junior footy in the centres. 

Like Talau, he has formed a close bond with Saab as they've developed a dangerous combination.

"[Saab's] been going exceptional," Garrick told "It's the right fit for us [on that edge]. 

"I see a little bit of space and think 'I reckon [Saab] can get around him'. Sometimes I don't even have to draw and pass, I can't just give him the ball early. 

"It's something I have to work on, getting him the ball a bit more and hopefully I can do that this weekend."

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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