Following a sustained period of dominance in which the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles made the finals every year for a decade since 2006, the silvertails have endured a prolonged lull only making the finals once in the past four seasons.
While on the whole, the past four seasons have been painful for the Brookvale faithful, seeing many favourite sons walk out the door, this changing of the guard was typified in 2015 in which they lost club legends Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Kieran Foran, and eventually coach Geoff Toovey.
While the release of such players has allowed the Sea Eagles to rebuild their squad to be much more competitive, this change in trajectory, as well as the consistent squad that came prior, has resulted in more than a few future stars walking out the door.
Here are the top 10 players the Sea Eagles have let go, not re-signed or released since 2010.
The players have been listed in accordance with the contribution they made whilst at the Sea Eagles as well as considering the influence they have had at the clubs they have left for.
10. Cheyse Blair
After a successful junior career at the Sydney Roosters which culminated in selection in the Australian Schoolboys side before moving West to join the Parramatta Eels, Cheyse Blair developed a reputation as a skillful ball-running outside back in his days at Parra.
Having been controversially singled out by then Eels head coach Ricky Stuart as one of the twelve players who did not have a future at the club in the form of a PowerPoint presentation, Blair was on the lookout for a new club and landed on the Peninsula in the form of a two-year deal.
After beginning the season on the wing for the first-grade side, Blair, unfortunately, spent the majority of 2014 in reserve grade after losing his spot to the impressive Peta Hiku following injury. However, he would work his way back into the side for their finals campaign.
In limited opportunities on the Northern Beaches, Blair recorded an impressive strike rate of 8 tries in 16 games, which was enough to catch the eye of the Melbourne Storm and Craig Bellamy, the masters of turning fringe players into quality first-graders.
Blair initially signed with the Storm on a one-year contract beginning in 2016, seeking to prove himself at NRL level once more. Having begun the year in reserve grade, Blair forced his way into the team in round 9 in the centres, impressing many fans and pundits down South with his consistent form from the get-go, being utilised primarily as a ball distributor to release prominent wingers Marika Koroibete and Suliasi Vunivalu.
Blair’s consistent and impressive form resulted in him playing in 14 of the Storm’s remaining 15 games and netting 8 tries along the way, including starting at centre in the Storm’s Grand Final loss to the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks.
He would go onto play a further 38 games for the Storm netting 18 tries in total before signing a three-and-a-half-year deal with the Castleford Tigers in early 2019 following Curtis Scott cementing himself alongside Will Chambers as the Storm’s premier centre pairing.
While Blair may have flattered to deceive in his short stint at Manly, he typified the values that Craig Bellamy looks for in a player, that being that hard work and adhering to the system trumps individual talent. Two qualities that Sea Eagles have been desperately lacking in the past four seasons.