Mitch Dransfield reviews the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles’ 2019 season.
2019 Club Record
Competition Points: 30
2019 Player Achievements
The predictions of the Sea Eagles’ year in 2019 was that they wouldn’t improve much, with coach Des Hasler just returning to the NRL with an under-strength side due to cap restraints. They broke these expectations to be one of the rising sides.
The on-field results were well above the previous year, winning six of their opening ten matches against strong opposition and battling injuries early. A major part of the success was the cohesion with players that had been together for a few lean years, to now be well rehearsed and able to adjust with other players coming in to cover.
Unfortunately after making the finals (finishing sixth), injuries added up: Tom Trbojevic, Joel Thompson, Curtis Sironen, and Marty Taupau all missed matches or the finals completely; with that calibre of play out it could’ve been the difference in making the grand final. An unharmed outfit for the northern beaches team in 2020 could see them reach the top four, while having a better grasp at clinching a title now with some finals experience against Cronulla-Sutherland and Souths.
There are no immediate new signings for the club, however they are working hard to keep their marquee players in the Trbojevic brothers, with big re-signings in Marty Taupau, Addin Fonua-Blake, and Dylan Walker locked in for the next couple of seasons to bolster them long term.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season
It’s come down to a couple of factors for who is the player of the season for the Sea Eagles: the amount of games they’ve played through, their impact, and why they deserve to be ahead of others. The stand out of much of what Manly did in 2019 was Addin Fonua-Blake; his work for the team was second to none, with many damaging performances. He has really become an elite forward.
Playing in 22 fixtures and missing the others due to suspension, Fonua-Blake had an outstandingly consistent time with 13 hitups and 163 run metres on average. Damaging sides with his big frame and skill, his game went to another level with cohesion alongside the now veteran and bash brother Marty Taupau, they wreaked havoc on all types of opposition which had Manly dominate through the middle of nearly every game, which allowed their classy backs to really trouble the best sides.
2020 GAINS AND LOSSES
Kane Elgey (retired), Trent Hodkinson (retired), Apisai Koroisau (Penrith Panthers), Kelepi Tanginoa (Wakefield Trinity).