After making the surprising move to the Northern Beaches, powerhouse forward Aitasi James has revealed a special connection to his new skipper.

Before making his professional rugby league debut for the Wests Tigers and moving to the Sea Eagles, James revealed that he first met Daly Cherry-Evans over a decade ago in 2013.

Flashing back to when he was 12 years of age, James did the haka for the club at their Captain's Run ahead of the 2013 NRL Grand Final - a day before the team took on the Sydney Roosters.

As part of an Under-13s touring team from South Auckland, James spoke about the encounter between the two, stating it's a surreal feeling that he will now be training and playing alongside the veteran halfback.

“We did the haka for the Sea Eagles NRL team at their Captain's Run,'' James reflected via the club's website.

“It was in the carpark. We also played a Manly development team that day.

“After I signed with Manly, I sent a photo to my manager of Daly and me together.

“It's crazy to think I'm here at Manly with him now. It's like it was meant to be. I would love to play an NRL game with Daly here. Hopefully I can get the chance to do that.”

GOSFORD, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 09: Daly Cherry-Evans celebrates his field goal and the win with team mates during the round five NRL match between the New Zealand Warriors and the Manly Sea Eagles at Central Coast Stadium, on April 09, 2021, in Gosford, Australia. (Photo by Ashley Feder/Getty Images)

The 23-year-old joins from the Wests Tigers after 5 NRL games last season - his debut being against the Cronulla Sharks. Before making his debut, he was a former Eels junior, having left his hometown of Auckland to pursue his dream.

While he may be on a supplementary contract rather than a spot on the Top 30 roster, the prop will likely appear for the Manly Sea Eagles at least once in the upcoming season.

However, even if he doesn't manage an appearance, James admitted he has already received invaluable advice from the other forwards at the club, including but not limited to Josh Aloiai, Taniela Paseka, Toff Sipley, Matthew Lodge, and Aaron Woods.

“I'm pretty lucky to have those type of players around me to ask questions and to learn from,'' James added.

“Toff has been a real mentor for me. I watch closely how he prepares for training, what he does in the drills, and in the gym.

“They have all given me tips on different things.

“I'm just trying to be more consistent with my preparation in terms of getting enough sleep and what to eat. That's a big thing for me. You just can't take any opportunity you get for granted.

“When my manager told me of Manly's interest, I wanted to come. It's about stepping out of my comfort zone and go somewhere new to push myself

“No spots were promised when I signed, but ‘Seibs' did say he will get me all the help I need to go to the next level.

"It's a good challenge for me here at Manly to test myself and to try and break into this strong forward pack.”