SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 03: Manase Fainu of the Sea Eagles passes the ball during the round 20 NRL match between the Manly Sea Eagles and the Newcastle Knights at Lottoland on August 03, 2019 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Jason McCawley/Getty Images)

Manly have found themselves in a huge dilemma just weeks before the 2020 pre-season begins, with the arrest of hooker Manase Fainu leaving the Sea Eagles without a first-grade number nine.

Fainu has been alleged to have produced a knife and stabbed a man at a church party, and if released on bail, will fall under the NRL’s no fault stand down policy – the same that kept team mate Dylan Walker sidelined last year.

The Tongan hooker was expected to walk into Des Hasler’s starting line-up following some stellar performances in 2019, so much so that the club released premiership winner Apisai Koroisau to Penrith a few months back.

The only other recognised rake around the club is Zach Dockar-Clay, a former halfback for Penrith and Parramatta’s junior sides, now Blacktown Workers’  hooker, however the Kiwi is yet to make his NRL debut.

While the Sea Eagles must apply for special dispensation so they can buy a new number nine, it is likely it’ll be approved after the Dragons were allowed the same benefit this year, using the money from Jack de Belin’s standing down to snare Pat Kaufusi from Melbourne mid-season.

Luckily for Manly, there is a host of quality spat of hookers without a club for 2020, most of whom will likely be willing to take a pay cut to ensure their careers continue in the NRL next year. Here’s the contenders.

 

Back

1. Michael Lichaa

The former Shark and Bulldog has failed to kick on in the NRL after being touted as a future superstar through his juniors, with a restriction on his running game a huge factor in the Lebanon international’s average form.

While it makes sense on paper, the relationship between Des Hasler and Lichaa from their days at Canterbury was rocky, with Lichaa stating that ‘his game plan doesn’t suit the coaching style of Des’ weeks before Hasler’s sacking from the Belmore-based club. While the rake insists there’s no bad blood between the pair, it’s doubtful the two will reunite after Hasler tried to release Lichaa, before the club backflipped and re-signed the Cronulla junior after Des’ departure.

NEWCASTLE, AUSTRALIA – JULY 12: Michael Lichaa of the Canterbury Bulldogs runs the ball during the round 17 NRL match between the Newcastle Knights and the Canterbury Bulldogs at McDonald Jones Stadium on July 12, 2019 in Newcastle, Australia. (Photo by Tony Feder/Getty Images)
Back

16 COMMENTS

  1. Lichaa would probably make the most sense because of his defence whereas the others are attacking hookers. Fainu is an attacking hooker also so Lichaa maybe gives some balance

  2. There are 2 better players than all of those in the Qld Cup ie: Mitch Cronin & Harry Grant…. Cronin smashed Brittain in the Residents game, is a bigger body & faster than all of them. Storm won’t let Grant go, but they are both better than all the names you have trotted out…..Have a lot in Qld occasionally!

  3. Danny Levi looks like the no brainer out of those 3 Isaac Luke is way past his time and as for Lichaa it was Hasler who turned him into one of the biggest flops in nrl history So I don’t think both parties would want to work together.

    Danny Levi cops a lot of flack from knights fans but was never really shown any faith even when he had that patch of great performances early in the season. He shows great heart in defence and Hasler would be one of those coaches to get the best out of him.

    I also agree with sports but Mitch Cronin would be a decent pick up but his size means he probably couldn’t play the 80 at nrl level if needed and he is in no way faster then Levi, other players like Brittain, Lovodua, Rein, Peats or McCullough would also fill in that gap

  4. As a manly fan we will miss fainu whichever way we go.
    But Danny Levi should be top of the list.
    I also think cade cust would makes good hooker. We have to sign someone so hopefully it’s Levi or billy Britain

  5. Latest I’m hearing is he is claiming mistaken identity and Manly feel he has a strong case so will not sign anyone else yet.

  6. No screaming I’m assuming this won’t be a rushed choice.
    But it will depend on trial dates anyways as he is already stood down and if he can’t get a trial until mid next year we’ll be after someone, I’m picking Levi..

  7. I can’t post link, so Google news this-
    Fainu fights for bail as Sea Eagles hold off on replacement purchase
    SMH

  8. Croker cust levi or luke all good options. Des will go with the guy who will take the lowest pay day. We need the extra cash to resign the turbo boys!

  9. 80 mins not a problem for Cronin warriorsemg, he plays 80 every week, is the top defender in the comp & runs for over 100m. By big body I mean he is tall & has a big wingspan….same size as Cameron Smith…. 185 & 91kg.

  10. manWar78 – Yeah if I was Manly I’d sign someone solid but cheap you blokes have to hang onto the Brothers. Levi would go well with Des I recon. Licha is too slow and his pass is not that great for a hooker. Good defender though.

  11. @sports nut yes he plays 80 in qld cup doesn’t mean he can play 80 at nrl level especially not at the start. All the other things you say are true he is a good defender and has a good running game(for a hooker his size).

    The problem is if I was coach with those options in front of me I would much rather go for the younger, higher potential and already more proven option in Levi then a 27 year old who wasn’t even the best player in his position This qld cup season(though coming second to the next Cameron Smith isn’t really a bad effort).

Comments are closed.