Eagles Rocked! Manly’s off field dramas impact on field results in their 2018 National Rugby League campaign.
2018 Club Record
Competition Points: 16 (15th placed)
2018 Player Achievements
Roy Bull Best and Fairest Player of the Year: Jake Trbojevic
Most Tries: Shaun Lane, Tom Trbojevic (9)
Most Points: Daly Cherry-Evans (166)
After finishing in the finals in 2017, there was a growing sense of optimism that things would improve for the Sea Eagles in the 2018 season. However, numerous off-field distractions derailed what showed flashes of being a successful season. The club had to deal a salary cap breach, the demotion of Jackson Hastings despite the club clearly needed all hands on deck and a drama of soap opera proportion between coach Trent Barrett and the Eagles board which continues to remain unresolved heading into the off-season. It is no surprise that the Eagles finished in fifteenth position with only the Eels saving them from being awarded their first wooden spoon in their history.
On top of the countless dramas that plagued the team off the field, Manly also caught the injury bug and were constantly searching for options to replace their ever-growing casualty ward. Talented hooker Api Koroisau, newly appointed half Lachlan Croker and emerging recruit Curtis Sironen all missed signicant time with injuries causing a constant reshuffle of troops for coach Barrett. With a bit more luck in this department, Manly’s season may have been very different as they showed flashes of brilliance including a defeat of the Broncos in round 10 backed up by a defeat of eventual grand finalists Melbourne in round 11. Unfortunately these two victories were few and far between in what will be looked back on a disappointing season.
If there was a silver lining in the injury to Api Koroisau, it was the emergence of Manase Fainu who stepped into the starting hooker role and showed flashes of brilliance in his time on the field. He provided some sharp work around the ruck and showed incredible speed. Hopefully if he can better handle himself off the field, there is a big NRL future waiting for the young man.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
Despite the countless negative headlines that plagued Manly’s season, Tom Trbojevic repeatedly demonstrated why he is one of the current and future stars of the NRL competition. He managed to score 9 tries in his 22 games and averaged over 170 metres in these appearances earning himself a State of Origin call up. As long as Manly have Tom and his equally as inspirational brother Jake, Manly will have optimism of a brighter future ahead.
2019 GAINS AND LOSSES
Kane Elgey (Gold Coast Titans, 2020), Trent Hodkinson (Cronulla Sharks, 2019)
Lewis Brown (released), Jackson Hastings (released), Shaun Lane (Parramatta Eels), Darcy Lussick (Toronto Wolfpack), Joey Lussick (Salford Red Devils), Akuila Uate (Huddersfield Giants), Jonathan Wright (Retired), Tom Wright (Rugby Union)