The Manly Sea Eagles will look to put a horror finish to the 2022 season behind them as they kick-off their 2023 campaign, but questions linger over a squad with injury headaches and key selection movements.

Anthony Seibold's return to the head coaching chair comes under incredibly difficult circumstances on the Northern Beaches.

The issue has been covered ad-nauseum, but it will simply not go away - the pride jersey of 2022 saw seven players sit out due to religious beliefs, before the Sea Eagles went on a seven-game losing streak to end the season.

It was as bad as you could possibly imagine, and ultimately was the key catalyst in costing Des Hasler his job.

Seibold now takes over a side with a new five-eighth, injury concerns lingering over Tom Trbojevic, and potential issues in the engine room.

But Manly have enough talent if it all clicks - here is who will be running onto the park for the Sea Eagles in 2023.

Recruitment report

Ins: Ben Condon (North Queensland Cowboys, 2025), Zac Fulton (2024), Cooper Johns (Melbourne Storm, 2023), Nathaniel Roache (2023), Kelma Tuilagi (Wests Tigers, 2025)

Outs: Andrew Davey (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Sione Fainu (Wests Tigers), Kieran Foran (Gold Coast Titans), Jorge Taufua (Wakefield Trinity), Martin Taupau (Brisbane Broncos), Dylan Walker (New Zealand Warriors)

Re-signed: Josh Aloiai (2025), Morgan Boyle (2023), Daly Cherry-Evans (2025), Zac Fulton (2024), Sean Keppie (2026), Tolutau Koula (2024), Karl Lawton (2024), Haumole Olakau'atu (2025), Jason Saab (2026), Ben Trbojevic (2023), Kaeo Weekes (2023)

Off-contract end 2023: Morgan Boyle, Ethan Bullemor, Morgan Harper, Jamie Humphreys, Brad Parker, Jacob Sykes, Ben Trbojevic, Alec Tuitavake, Raymond Vaega, Kaeo Weekes

Who plays where?


At his best, Tom Trbojevic is one of, if not the best fullback in the game, and will wear the number one jumper for Seibold everytime he is fit.

It has been something of a tumultuous off-season for Trbojevic and brother Jack, with the duo close to Hasler before his ultimate departure from the club.

That's not to say they won't be back at their best under Seibold, with the duo now stalwarts of the Sea Eagles.

That all said, Trbojevic's biggest issue is injury, and he has also spent time in the United States of America after yet another hamstring injury during the pre-season in an effort to strengthen the troublesome muscles.

Should Trbojevic be unable to play all 24 games - and it's something you'd unfortunately put your money on given he hasn't played more than 20 games since 2018 - Reuben Garrick is the most likely player to shift to the back.

Kaeo Weekes, who impressed on debut last season, is another option, while young gun Tolutau Koula can also play in the number one should it be required.


We have already mentioned Reuben Garrick's name as a back-up option in the number one jumper, but when he isn't required there, he will be lining up on the wing for the Sea Eagles, where he has become a try-scoring machine.

He is also one of the competition's better goal-kickers, and is under no pressure for his spot.

Once he is fit, Jason Saab will claim the other wing spot. The towering winger recently suggested he would be back by Round 10, meaning he will miss less than half of the season for the men from the northern beaches.

In the meantime, it will be Christian Tuipulotu who will take over the spot on the other wing.

Raymond Vaega, who has had limited first-grade opportunities, is the other back-up option on the wing, while Morgan Harper, who has fallen out of favour for his old spot at centre, could also play there in a pinch.


The reason Morgan Harper has fallen out of favour is the breakout form of Tolutau Koula, who was excellent throughout the 2022 campaign after gaining a first-grade opportunity.

He will come into 2023 holding one of the centre spots, and is unlikely to lose his grip on it if he continues the form he displayed last year.

Brad Parker, who is solid without being amazing, will take the other spot in the three-quarter line - an honest footballer, his defence has improved in leaps and bounds in recent times.

Harper will be the first man into the side if there are any injuries, while Ben Trbojevic - the youngest of the brothers - could also push for a spot in the three or four.

Once Saab returns, Christian Tuipulotu could also factor with a chance of playing in the centres, while Kaeo Weekes can line up just about anywhere in the backline.


As always, Daly Cherry-Evans will be the focal point of the Manly side. The attack will go through him, and most good things the side do he will have a role in.

The other starting half will be Josh Schuster.

The star Samoan representative has spent most of his career to date in the second-row, however, will now make the move to the halves following the departure of Kieran Foran to the Gold Coast Titans.

He will be under pressure for his spot though, with Weekes pushing for first-grade honours, and Cooper Johns having signed with the club over the off-season.

Middle forwards

Manly have a powerful engine room on their day, although you can't talk about their forward pack without mentioning the departure of Martin Taupau, even if his role and minutes had been reduced by the end of last year.

It's reasonably clear that Jake Trbojevic will start at lock once again in 2023, even though it's becoming increasingly evident his best position is at prop.

That leaves Josh Aloiai and Sean Keppie to hold down the starting spots in the front row, although it's anything but a sure thing with plenty of competition for the spots.

Taniela Paseka and Toafofoa Sipley are now established campaigners, while Viliami Fifita's form in the pre-season was outstanding. Ben Condon, who played a stack of middle third in the QLD Cup last year while sitting on the outer of the Cowboys' best 17, is another candidate for minutes, while Morgan Boyle, Ethan Bullemor and Alex Tuitavake can all play in the middle.


Lachlan Croker will once again line up as the established dummy half to kick-off the season, but faces some competition for his spot this season.

Utility Karl Lawton will likely claim the number 14 jersey, but could start when Croker is out, while Gordon Chan Kum Tong recently signed a Top 30 deal with the club and impressed during the pre-season.

As per other positions, Weekes could also fill in here, but no one will take the jumper away from Croker, who was once a stop-gap measure, but is now a strong dummy half.


After making the switch from the Wests Tigers, Kelma Tuilagi, despite being underwhelming at Concord last year, will slot straight into the starting second-row with Schuster's move to the halves.

He will be joined by wrecking ball Haumole Olakau'atu, who has quickly turned himself into one of the best second-rowers in the NRL.

The barnstorming forward breaks tackles with ease, runs rings around opponents and will need to do plenty of the same this year.

Ethan Bullemor, who can also play in the middle, leads the back-up brigade alongside Ben Trbojevic, while Ben Condon, Zac Fulton and even Keppie, who has played on the edge previously, could feature throughout the season in a position where Seibold's side are short on depth.


There could be a real push to find minutes for the likes of Chan Kum Tong, Ben Trbojevic Viliami Fifita, Zac Fulton and Alec Tuitavake this year, but it's unlikely any of them will push into the permanent best 17.

Instead, Karl Lawton will be the man to take the 14 jumper for Manly, while experienced props Sipley and Paseka will add to a damaging middle third rotation.

Bullemor, with ability to play on either the edge or in the middle, will be the final one on the bench, beating out Trbojevic and Fifita as the likely closest to the side.

Sea Eagles' best 17 for 2023

1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Reuben Garrick
3. Tolutau Koula
4. Brad Parker
5. Jason Saab
6. Josh Schuster
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Josh Aloiai
9. Lachlan Croker
10. Sean Keppie
11. Haumole Olakau'atu
12. Kelma Tuilagi
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Karl Lawton
15. Toafofoa Sipley
16. Taniela Paseka
17. Ethan Bullemor