NRL Rd 27 - Sea Eagles v Wests Tigers
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - SEPTEMBER 01: (L-R) Tom Trbojevic, Jake Trbojevic and Ben Trbojevic of the Sea Eagles pose following the round 27 NRL match between Manly Sea Eagles and Wests Tigers at 4 Pines Park on September 01, 2023 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

The Manly Sea Eagles endured a difficult first season under Anthony Seibold, but will hit the ground running for 2024 with the sky the limit.

A club with a rich junior talent pool, improving youngsters on the fringes of first-grade and some of the biggest stars in the game at their disposal, anything less than the finals for a second year in a row simply won't be good enough.

Manly made the big call at the end of 2022 to move Des Hasler on from his role, instead controversially handing the head coaching chair to Seibold.

If he can't make it work this year though, his head may well be on the chopping block, and some critical questions will determine exactly how the Sea Eagles perform throughout the 2024 campaign.

Here are the five biggest.

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1. Can Tom Trbojevic stay fit?

In what can only be described as one of the more positive signs around the fitness of Tom Trbojevic in some time, the star fullback made it unscathed through a scrimmage against the St George Illawarra Dragons last week.

His performance was so good that Dragons' coach Shane Flanagan was left proclaiming that he could lead the Sea Eagles to a premiership, something that would be scarcely believable if not for prior runs on the board.

The last time Trbojevic played anything near a full season was that insane 2021 COVID-hit season, where 15 regular season games were enough for him to take the Dally M Medal in a canter and lead Manly to a preliminary final.

That said, pre-season fitness doesn't mean much for Trbojevic. The last time he managed more than 20 games in a season was way back in 2018.

But such is his talent, particularly in the modern, sped-up way of life in rugby league, he could be the difference between a premiership contender and a bottom-four side.

He is, without doubt, one of the best players in the game, and if he stays fit, then it could be a completely different Manly side in 2024.

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