Pre-season prediction: 3rd

Actual finish: 13th

Sea Eagles 2025 Player Movements

2025 Gains
2025 Losses
Karl Lawton (North Queensland Cowboys), Josh Schuster (released)
Haumole Olakau'atu (2031), Ben Trbojevic (2027)
Off Contract 2024
Nathan Brown, Gordon Chan Kum Tong, Jamie Humphreys, Matthew Lodge, Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega, Corey Waddell

Manly missed the finals for the first time in seemingly decades in 2015. A club legend was sacked as coach, in fighting at board level was rife, and for the first time in a long time, the club looked like it was out of answers.

They lost superstar half Kieran Foran to rivals the Eels, while players like Stewart, Lyon and Matai, club legends, grew another year older.

Manly then went on one of the most aggressive recruitment drives in recent NRL memory, signing superstars Dylan Walker, Nate Myles (albeit ageing), and Martin Taupau. They also added Lewis Brown and Api Koroisau, as well as the extremely exciting Matt Parcell.

Unfortunately what was supposed to be a bright new era soon turned into a nightmare as Trent Barrett failed to get the most out of his new look side. Injuries to the likes of Stewart and Lyon didn’t help, but truth be told Manly just weren’t up to it in 2016.

Star player: Tom Trbojevic

Brett Stewart has long been nicknamed the “Prince of Brookvale”. As brilliant as the superstar number one has been, there is a new kid on the block, and this kid is club royalty.

In a horror season on the Nothern beaches, young Tommy Turbo scored ten tries, laid on eleven try assists, and made an incredible 20 line-breaks.

Having signed a new, upgraded, long-term deal, there is absolutely no limit to what this kid can achieve for Manly, New South Wales and the Kangaroos.

In a season where Manly’s stars, like Cherry-Evans and Taupau, struggled to match their lofty standards, young Tom went from exciting prospect to genuine NRL superstar in the space of one full NRL season.

Season highlight: 15-12 win over The Warriors in the Auckland Nines

Pickings were slim in 2016 as to season highlights for this club. Manly only recorded seven wins this season, and two of them were over the hapless Newcastle Knights.

Sure, they had some good wins, mainly a ten point win over the Sharks, prior to the Shire-based club embarking on a record-beating win streak, but not once this season did Manly live up to expectations.

They’re 15-12 win over raging hot Nine’s favourites the Warriors was a brilliant showing of backs-t-the-wall, scrambling, and finding a way to win.

Manly are a proud club who need to do better than they did in 2016. For those 14 minutes, the club showed their true worth.

Best signing: Blake Green

Daly Cherry-Evans, despite having a less than stellar 2016, is still an elite level halfback capable of leading his side to NRL glory. Unfortunately during 2016 Manly simply didn’t allow him to form a stable halves combination which robbed the side of cohesion and combinations.

Former Storm five-eighth Blake Green will provide DCE with an experienced, calm headed and hard-working partner that should see Manly given a better chance to thrive next season.

Green is one of the most underrated halves in the game and proved a brilliant support act to Daly M co-winner Cooper Cronk in 2016. His ability to do the little things right should allow DCE more of a chance to create in years to come.

That’s not to say Green doesn’t offer anything beyond being a supporting act. He is as tough as they come, can guide a side with the boot, and can find the line. This signing certainly went under the radar but could prove to be one of the signings of 2017.

The Positives

Turbo’s re-signed: Given Manly’s woes, combined with the money on offer at a number of NRL rival clubs, for a time it looked a real possibility that both Trbojevic brothers may be looking elsewhere. However, in the end, there was little chance of the brothers leaving. The club now has multiples years to build around these supremely talented stars.

2016 is over: A few clever signings, and re-signings aside, there wasn’t a whole lot to love for fans of the Sea Eagles in 2016. Many thought 2015 was as far as Manly would fall before launching a revival, but in 2016, they fell further than many thought they ever would.

Season Grading: F

Considering the quality of players they recruited, added to the supreme talent already at the club, 2016 was an unmitigated disaster for the Sea Eagles. This side should have been challenging for top four honours yet it was out of the finals race by midseason.

The days of relying on the likes of Stewart, Lyon or Matai to create something out of nothing are gone, as Lyon has now retired, and there are real doubts over the futures of both Stewart and Matai.

Manly’s former fortress Brookvale became a happy hunting ground for travelling sides in 2016. They beat only three sides at home this season. No side can honestly expect to play finals footy with that sort of home record.

Plenty went wrong in 2016, but the club’s two brightest young stars put their name to long-term deals at the club and a Super League title winning half was signed to partner Cherry-Evans.

With Turbo, Green, Cherry-Evans, and Parcell making up the club’s spine for the next few seasons, with a monster forward pack in front of them, there really are no excuses going forward.

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