After somewhat of a tumultuous start to the season, Manly got back to finals football in 2021 after missing out last season.
2021 Club RecordEmbed from Getty Images
Competition Points: 34
2021 Player AchievementsEmbed from Getty Images
Most Tries: Tom Trbojevic (28)
Most Points: Reuben Garrick (334)
Manly’s season promised so much throughout, but Des Hasler’s side just failed to get over the line late on after their surge into the top four. While they weren’t a one-man team by any standards, the effect Tom Trbojevic had on his side was undoubtedly extensive. Not purely for himself and his own performances, but the way he elevated others around him; Reuben Garrick had a career season, while Jason Saab, Dylan Walker and Lachlan Croker also excelled along side the Dally M winner. While it was somewhat of a disappointment for the Sea Eagles not to go further in the play-offs, they came a long way from a horrific start to get there and, at times, looked the best team in the NRL with their free flowing, point-scoring attack.
The biggest talking point in Manly’s season was undoubtedly the difference Tom Trbojevic made before and after his hamstring tear, which was in itself controversial following rumours that suggested he had hurt himself racing a punter in the off-season. Regardless, he backed up the hype being clearly the exceptional force in the side that ultimately earned him one of the highest honours in the game.
Trbojevic was surrounded by a plethora of talented backs, who also shined in cahoots with the Dally M winner. Reuben Garrick found exceptional kicking and try scoring form which culminated in him taking the top points scorer record for the season, which also allowed him to break the all time regular season scoring record ahead of the great Hazem El Masri. He also became the first player to score more than 300 points in a regular season along with being the first player in rugby league to score 20 tries and 100 goals in a season.
The quality wasn’t just in the backs however, with Josh Schuster making his mark as one of the most pleasurable players to watch in any NRL pack. His ball handling and attacking nouse allowed him to fill playmaking roles – which he proved more than adept in before making his NRL debut, as well as being a destructive ball runner on the edges; his breakout season showed a lot of promise for the Manly faithful. Alongside that there were also top class seasons from Jason Saab and a seemingly rejuvenated Dylan Walker in somewhat of a different role for the side.
Arguably the most important factor for the Manly side next season will be the physios and athletic trainers keeping their players fit, given injuries are what marred them the most in the 2021 season. That said, there is plenty more to look forward to in the 2022 season, with very few real losses bar Cade Cust (to Wigan Warriors). More depth to back up the halves would be welcomed and potentially one more addition to bolster the pack would be a plus, but Des Hasler looks to have a squad to go deep in the season – if not all the way – given all the influential players are kept fit.
NothingButLeague Player of the Season – Tom TrbojevicEmbed from Getty Images
Try Assists: 31
Run Metres: 3,220
Tackle Bursts: 131