There can be very few Manly fans out there capable of putting a positive spin on their club’s 2016 season as a whole.

Seven wins, a 13th placed finish and four wins outside the eight, Manly’s 2016 was a disaster, and in no way resembled the new era that fans were expecting after a brilliant recruitment drive.

Trent Barrett was given the reins and a side containing the likes of Cherry-Evans, Stewart, Lyon, Matai, Taupau, Myles, Walker and the Trbojevic brothers.

For a club that has enjoyed so much success for the past decade, 2016’s efforts were both a shock and completely out of character.

Despite the names changing over the years, one thing has remained constant at Brookvale, and that is the dominance of Manly packs.

The names Watmough, Stewart, King and Kite were not names you wanted to see if you wanted an easy, bruise-free night as an opposition forward.

They may not have been the biggest names; Rose, Gower, Horo, Galuvao and Rodney are not names you are going to see in future immortal discussions, but when wearing the maroon and white Sea Eagles jersey, they weren’t often on the end of losing forward battles.

In 2016, Manly’s forward pack, and star-studded forward pack at that was soundly beaten far too often for their talented backs to create anywhere near the opportunities they needed to play finals football.

Nate Myles, although on the “wrong side of 30” was brought to the club to provide a big, experienced body to make plenty of tackles and metres, and provide leadership for the club’s younger forwards.

Martin Taupau, a genuine game-breaking forward with limitless potential, brought with his recruitment the aggression and offloading ability to win games.

Lewis Brown is a New Zealand international capable of playing big minutes. He was hugely misused during the 2016 season, shifting from centre to back row to hooker to bench utility.

Jake Trbojevic is a workhorse forward with impeccable defensive technique and the ability to find the try line. He will add plenty of representative jumpers to his recent four-nations experience with the Kangaroos.

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Darcy Lussick and Brenton Lawrence are no mugs.

On paper, his was a formidable forward pack, possibly even better than the much celebrated forward packs of Manly’s recently grand final teams.

Unfortunately for Manly fans, it didn’t pan out as it was supposed to.

Nate Myles had a season that never looked like living up to the incredible standard he has set throughout his career.

Although he represented Queensland, his selection was based on loyalty and past brilliance far more than it was on NRL form.

Marty Taupau created some highlight moments and showed signs of the form that created such a buzz upon signing for his new club. Unfortunately his aggression, at times, got the best of him and his season was upset by stints on the sidelines.

Few will forget his sickening hit on Jack Bird that knocked the young centre for a loop and looked far worse than the one-week suspension it earned.

As previously mentioned, Lewis Brown was not allowed to settle into a role as Barrett made full use of his utility value, thrusting him out into the centres and into hooker with no rhyme nor reason.

Brown is a wide running back rower with plenty of ball-playing ability, creativity, speed and footwork. He doesn’t have the speed to hang with the NRL’s elite centres.

Incredibly, despite having two of the competition’s most exciting number nines on their roster, Brown was used in the hooking role far too often. Of course when Parcell and Koroisau were injured, Brown was a good option, but his best role is in the back row.

Jamie Buhrer, as he always does, played his backside off after returning from injury and will be sorely missed after heading north to Newcastle.

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Jake Trbojevic had a monster season and earned his Kangaroo call-up. He is a future leader of the club and has a huge and successful future in the NSW blue.

Addin Fonua-Blake showed some signs of being a being capable first grader going forward. His career had stalled due to off-field issues, but 2016 may prove to be a life-changing year.

Darcy Lussick and Brenton Lawrence never let anyone down and were not expected to be match-winning, game-breakers like Taupau and co.

Trbojevic, Lussick, Fonua-Blake, Myles, Brown, Taupau and Lawrence will be joined by the massive Shaun Lane and will be given the task of laying the platform for the incredible talent in Manly’s backline.

As good as Tommy Turbo, Dylan Walker and Daly Cherry-Evans are, they can’t work miracles behind a beaten forward pack.

With four major internationals in Trbojevic, Myles, Brown and Taupau, fans at Brookvale can expect their big men to stand up and win plenty of battles in 2017.

They were hardly the only ones at fault in 2016, and it would be very unfair to single out any player, but Manly’s forwards need to be better, and more dominant in 2016.

Yes, they have been judged a little harshly, but only due to the immense talent within their ranks.

Many NRL forwards would make a great sacrifice to have a season like Tauapu did in 2016, but for the insanely talented Kiwi superstar, he is capable of much, much more.

Manly fans and players alike will hope to return to the days where opposition fans and players sighed when they saw an upcoming trip to Brookvale Oval was on the calendar.

If the Sea Eagles are to ensure that sides don’t leave the Northern beaches with competition points in 2017, it’s going to have to come on the back of their big men creating momentum and space for DCE and Turbo to run riot.


  1. You can’t go forward if your $10 mill half is busy doin nothing ,neither recruiting blokes like Brown ,Ka Pow ,and the Head , ok so Marty can lift a bus but that’s not football , Jamie B was our best forward in 2016 along with Vave and we let them go , BJ will add starch in 2017 but he and Darcy cannot do it alone, if our halfs turn up I can see the forwards matching it ,still a couple of years before we get our mojo back along with a new coach , at least Manly won’t be wooden spoon champs ,not in 2017 can’t see it being as bad as 2016

    • st47 – but your halves can only turn up to play if the forwards are doing their job…doesn’t matter whether you have JT, Cronk, Joey Johns, Sterlo, Turvey or anyone – the forwards need to do their job to let the backs do theirs.
      Some strange decisions over there on the peninsula and maybe some more to come..
      Personally I don’t see them making a challenge for the 8 with the current roster…but stranger things have happened.
      even if snake goes and gets a payout, it would have to be included in the cap surely? Matai may be a different story.

  2. 8 – Lussick
    9 – Parcell
    10 – Taupau
    11 – Sironen
    12 – Lane
    13. Trbojevic

    14. Korosiua
    15. Lawrence
    16. Fonua Blake
    17. Myles

    It will be tough for the next couple of years but if the starting pack can start to mould and get some go forward, it might not be that bad.

    • Personally would play taupau at 11, drop sironen and realistically myles (won’t happen) and start Lawrence bring in Willis Meehan. Still think we got another forward signing coming though but got big hopes for Shaun lane

      • Geez – Silvertails, imagine if Manly had all the advantages the Broncos get.

        Another year goes by when they’ve been gifted the comp….
        Thursday/Friday night games…
        More TPA’s than any other club…
        Owned by News Ltd so any story’s about their players seem to disappear….

        What else can everyone do for the Broncos and they still can’t get over the line…

        • Manly have had all the advantages in decades gone by batman. Stop sooking about what the Broncos have. Manly are a great club but have no one to blame but themselves for the position they are in now. DCE is a good player if behind some go forward I think he will come back into form this year.

  3. An injury to either or Trebojevic brothers will see Manly staring down Newcastle for the spoon. These guys are the only 2 natural leaders left at that club which is pretty sad considering how young they are.

    • Ha ha.
      Coming from a rabbits supporter that’s funny.

      If you like I could name some key players from any team that would see clubs struggle if they were injured.
      And considering Turbo played injured all year – the only way is up.

      The 4 5day turnarounds in 9 rounds was a big part of Our injury issues. Never really recovered after that.
      Hopefully doesn’t affect you guys too much….? Souths have 4 this year?

  4. Lewis Brown misused?? The bloke can’t play…he bounces off tackles..
    Manly let Buhrer go and keep this muppett!! Turn it up!!

  5. Aahhh so many doubters. Especially those who’s teams couldn’t avg as many run metres as Manlys in 2016.

    In my opinion, Manlys forward pack will do just fine.
    Bozos recruitment has a theme. And I think I’d prefer his decisions on the Penisula than those suggesting he doesn’t know what he’s doing. After all he has won premisehips as a player and coach … probably something no one of ZT can put their hand up for. 🙂

    The pack is much larger in 2017 with additions like Lane, Sirronen, Meehan. Added with Fonua Blake, Lussick, Kapow, Treb … building quite a nice rotation and planing for the future, signing NZ u20’s like Amone for depth and now linking with Blacktown whom have made some excellent signings also. With the exclusion of kapow and Lussick all other players above are under 23 I think….?

    Let’s see how it all pans out.

    • thebatman, bloody Bozo’s recruitment over the last 2 years is a bloody joke. In 2015 he tapped on the shoulders of about 14 players about mid way through the season and tells them they are not wanted next year and this year they have cleaned out the closet with about 20 players not wanted including Vave and Buhrer. Vave was one of our best go forward players and Buhrer is mr reliable. How do you expect a team to perform when you continue to rip the heart out of the team. Time for Bozo to move on and enjoy his retirement and give the coach Barrett some more power as do other clubs. Bozo still thinks his shiiiiite dont stink.

      • Bozo took over half way through this year. So yeah….
        That’s not to say his advisory role didn’t play apart in the releasing of all the players but unfortunately for you – 2 yrs to clean out and start again isn’t easy to do.
        Perhaps if your way better at it and know more – head on down to Sea Eagles HQ and give your resume a whirl… sound like your leaps and bounds infront of Bozo already.

        Understand your frustration though. Vave has his good parts to his game and bad. He comes off the bench and makes an impact, it’s just not for very long and his defence can be a little lazy. He was offered a contract but Parra offered more and we didn’t match it.
        Buhrer just didn’t have the size to make it in the backrow. Plenty of heart but unfortunately heart doesn’t win you premierships. He’s been replaced by Sirronen who’s physically larger, younger and had less injuries.

        This system works fine at the Panthers, in fact their sitting pretty and about to open their premiership window. People were calling Gus crazy too when he was letting the likes of Lewis go but the clubs taken 5/6yrs but in a much better position.

        Be patient. Rome wasn’t built in a day. The Salary cap (if you follow it) is designed for teams to have highs and lows. Be realistic.

        • Severity taken into account.

          Would I be right in saying Buhrer has suffered 2 ACL’s, broken hand, broken jaw in the last few years. I’d be happy to put all them down to his lack of size to be honest.

          Sirronens had some minor surgeries but nothing as serious as 2 ACL’s.
          1 more serious knee injury and Buhrer will struggle to run around with the kids….

          Just my opinion. Not necessarily correct.
          You obviously feel he should have stayed? And that injurys are not the reason he was pushed out… what do you reckon?

        • batman – on sironen, I think your mob are putting too much hope on him being one of the saviours…seriously if he couldn’t make the top grade at the Tigers consistently for the last 3 seasons how is he going to be one that will save them. The tigers have been a bit of a rabble for the last couple of years of Robbies reign and whilst a player may fall out with a coach, JT wasn’t there all the time and the fallout mustn’t have been too bad for him to be offered (and accepted) and extension to his contract.
          Personally would have preferred Buhrer – you know what you going to get and that is consistency, good defence and character.
          Good luck tho.

        • You must know more than the rest than because I haven’t heard anyone calling him a saviour?
          Do tell?

          Persoanlly I think your mob think Matagi (avg 69m) Pritchard (couldn’t make the Bulldogs first grade) will be your saviours…. 😉

          On Buhrer – I’ll leave that decision to Bozo. That’s what he’s employed to do.

          Happy to see how it pans out.

  6. I’m afraid Lewis Brown is a dud – lacks effective size and/or pace, and in the old jargon is a classic ‘shiner’. He was a mystery signing together with Matty Wright and the more recent Jonno Wright.

    I think Willis Meehan and Jamil Hopoate maybe regular selections in the Manly pack. I think Hopoate is a very talented footballer who can also play tough.

    Am mystified why Buhrer was pushed out as he was a very reliable performer and good clubman – unfortunately the current Manly management don’t seems to have any regard for team spirit or culture. I also could not understand why Symonds and Mateo were also pushed out mid season as they wanted to stay and were only replaced by the likes of Brown, Miles and co.

    Throughout 2016 Manly fielded probably its most mediocre and puerile backline since the mid 1950s. An infusion of players with genuine speed is now required and it is hoped that the recruitment of Uaite and the new fellow from N Queensland may assist in that regard. One can only pray that Manly will not persist with the mediocrities of the likes of the Wright boys and Brown in the backline during the new season.

    Of course the fitness or otherwise of Stewart and Mattai will be an imprtant factor in how Manly perform.

    • Suggestion to why Buhrer was moved on maybe the 22 games played in 2yrs.

      Unfortunately injury have plagued him recently and we all saw what Jnr Paulo did to him.
      He’s just not big enough for the backrow in today’s game.

      Hopefully the Knights use him more appropriately.

  7. All club rivalry aside, you’ve built your team around 3 key (extended) spine players, and that makes sense / nothing wrong with that, but 1 of them is DCE, who’s got very little to play for (his playing career is paid out, plus some, irrespective). There’s your biggest risk, outside of the standard (every team) issue re injuries.

    For my money the DCE deal was a short term motivated over reaction to the fear of losing both your halves, and now you have to cross your fingers. If DCE just goes through the motions, and I think he will, Manly supporters will be praying he “trips over a bindi” and retires due to injury .

    Club rivalry gloves back off, I wish him a long “playing” career.

    • Fair call on DCE. For me it’s more so his pay packet. It was a ridiculous deal. But the club thought they were losing everything so can understand the desperation.

      Basically since losing Foran the club hasn’t done anything to help DCE. Last year was a failed experiment with Walker and then we used a centre to company him.
      Not to mention an ever changing hooker and an injured Tommy T. Last year was the most predictable attack that Manlys had in the last decade.

      We saw what Parra was like with 1 half at the back of the season when Norman was suspended – lost more games then won.

      There are very few halves than can week in week out steer around a footy team on their own.

      I expect a big improvement now DCE will be able to rely on a true half to help with the control. Not to mention a hooker who has a 2nd season with the club under his belt. And a fully fit Tommy T popping up to ball play either side of the ruck.

  8. Next year we will be fine. And personally i think Lussick is our leader/enforcer and was the best forward in 2016.

    Jake t


  9. Manlys pack for 2017 will be like this in my opinion.

    8- D Lussick
    9- A Koroisau
    10- N Myles
    11- M Taupau
    12- C Sironen
    13- J Trbojevic

    14- L Brown
    15- A Fonua-Blake
    16- B Lawrence
    17- J Hopoate/S Lane

    If Manly will make the finals this year it will be on the back of the big pack they have now. It’s a great pack very good worthy of the top 8 and if it performs the backline will have to put in also to ensure a top 8 position. Last year the forwards were great and at one point in the last couple of rounds (24 or 25 I think) Manly had the 6th most metres gained by forwards but the injuries in the backline killed us. More players on the field will equal certain top 8. Manly have a great backline which is still one of the best full of speed and skill led by a great set of halves put that together with the great pack you should see them fly. Another key is Apisai Koroisau who was one of Manlys best last year. His combos with the forwards were great to watch and led to points. He set up tires close to the line with his great vision with short passing or neat grubbers to be scooped upon by the backrower screaming through. His speed was also a strong point.

  10. I think manly will be fine also. They have a very strong 17, just lack depth of some other clubs, and a lot will depend on injuries and how the team start the gel with the same group on the field.
    As far as I am aware stevie matai won’t be there, but if snake is I’m happy for him to be given a go if his body is up to it.
    I would play
    1. Snake/turbo tom
    2. Taufau
    3. Walker
    4. Turbo tom/ Locke/ Kelly
    5. Uate/ Locke
    6. Green
    7. Dce
    8. Lussick
    9. Korisau
    10. Lawrence
    11. Taupau
    12. Lane
    13. Jake
    14. Parcel
    15. Fonua Blake
    16. Myles
    17. Sironen/brown/Meehan/ Hopoate
    Personally would be Meehan but sure he will play brown in there.
    Really hoping Shaun lane gets first crack at the 12 jersey as long as he has worked hard. I think that 17 can be very competitive against anyone and definitely too 8. But time will tell like usual..

    • Nice team, mines pretty much the same.

      1- T Trbojeivc
      2- J Taufua
      3- D Walker
      4- B Parker
      5- B Kelly
      6- B Green
      7- D Cherry-Evans
      8- D Lussick
      9- A Koroisau
      10- N Myles
      11- M Taupau
      12- C Sironen
      13- J Trbojevic

      14- L Brown
      15- A Fonua-Blake
      16- B Lawrence
      17- J Hopoate/S Lane

      Either way both strong sides that should be capable of a top 8 spot.

      • Definitely able to be top 8, just lack depth with that many injuries again. Personally I’m a massive Bretton Lawrence fan and think he needs to be playing big minutes as he and lussick are definitely capable of…

        • Good teams lads.

          Read today that in the forwards, Manly have Tom Amone, Charlie Faainga, Billy Bainbridge and Jarryd Kennedy all training with the FG squad also. All new depth signings.

          I’ve got a feeling that due to the purchase of so many backrowers we may see Tapau (and maybe Treb) move back to front row rotation….

          FR – Lussick, Tapau, AFB, Myles, Lawrence, Meehan, Faainga

          Backrow – Lane, Sirronen, Brown, Treb, Hoppa, Kennedy, Amone, Bainbridge.

          My top 17…. for fun.

          1) Tommy
          2) Tafua
          3) Walker
          4) Kelly
          5) Uate
          6) Green
          7) DCE
          8) Lussick
          9) Parcell
          10) Tapau
          11) Lane
          12) Sirronen
          13) Treb

          14) AFB
          15) Myles
          16) Meehan
          17) Brown

          IMO that forward pack will do just fine. Considering they could make metres in 2016 (more than Parra anyway 😉 ) I think they’ll improve their metres with the signings for 2017.

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