In the lead up to the 2014 VB NSW Cup season, we will shine the spotlight on all 13 competing teams to see how they are shaping up for the year ahead.
Today we take a look at the Manly Sea Eagles.
Head Coach: Luke Williamson
Home Ground: Brookvale Oval
Year Entered Competition: 2011
2013 Result: 11th - (7 wins and 17 losses)
2014 Key Signings: Josh Starling (South Sydney Rabbitohs), Cheyse Blair (Parramatta Eels), Jack Littlejohn (Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs), Dunamis Lui (Brisbane Broncos) & Manaia Rudolph (Wests Tigers).
On the surface, the Manly Sea Eagles VB NSW Cup side has probably been a touch disappointing the past few seasons given that they are yet to play finals football since their re-introduction in 2011.
But success can be measured in many ways and sometimes it is not always just about wins and losses.
In Manly’s case, a number of exciting and talented players such as Ligi Sao, Peta Hiku and James Hasson have all spent time in their VB NSW Cup system and are now on the verge of promising NRL careers.
This development and nurturing of talent at the club is a big point of emphasis for their Head Coach, Luke Williamson.
“Our focus is to keep improving and developing players for the next level,” Williamson said.
“Overall we want the VB NSW Cup squad to have its own identity and to fulfil its potential.”
The Sea Eagles, like many other clubs have had a considerable changeover of personnel this past off season, and given that the clubs top squad can remain relatively injury free, the Sea Eagles VB NSW Cup side does appear to be one that could match it with most sides in the competition.
In addition to some of the elder statesman at the club, a number of young guns such as Clinton Gutherson, Jake Trbojevic and Zach Nicholls may see plenty of time in the VB NSW Cup side this year along with others such as Michael Chee-Kam and Kayne Lawton who both missed large portions of the 2013 season due to injury.
The ultimate make up of this side will become clearer following this weekend’s Auckland Nines as well a trial the following week against Wenty.
But regardless of who suits up for this Sea Eagles side on any given week, you just get the feeling that this side is finally set to deliver on some of the promise they shown at different times over the past few years.
Manly will kick off the 2014 VB NSW Cup season with a match up against Mounties at Brookvale Oval on Saturday March 8 at 4.45pm prior to the huge NRL clash between Manly and the Melbourne Storm.