It was an injury-ravaged season for the Blacktown Workers Sea Eagles and you can only wonder what could have been if they were able to field a full-strength side throughout 2019.
Under the reign of Steven Hales, the Sea Eagles finished their campaign as the ‘giant killers’ in many respects with some impressive performances against some premiership heavyweights – including a win over eventual premiers Newtown Jets and another against the Penrith Panthers.
Zach Dockar–Clay was arguably their best player in his return to the Canterbury Cup NSW, filling in admirably in the no.9 and no.7 jerseys respectively, while Kane Elgey showed his class before announcing an early retirement at season’s end.
Their highlight moment
Rd 20 v Newtown Jets – 26-24 W
In hindsight, the victory mattered little as they fell short of a finals berth but their 26-24 win over eventual premiers Newtown Jets speaks volumes of the strong character that was built amongst the playing squad.
Trailing 18-4 at halftime, it seemed as though a customary Jets performance was on the cards, such was their formidable attacking efforts in the latter part of the season,
However, with their backs against the wall and another loss looming, two tries from Lloyd Perrett, and another from Zach Dockar-Clay, turned the game well and truly on its head before Kane Elgey delivered a clutch conversion to all but seal an unlikely victory.
They recorded two victories in their final four fixtures, including a dominant display over the Penrith Panthers in Round 24.
Simply their best
After spending a year with the Townville Blackhawks, Dockar-Clay made a welcome return to the Canterbury Cup NSW and was arguably one of the Sea Eagles most consistent players.
A versatile halfback who filled in admirably in the no.9 jersey, Dockar-Clay proved to be their most integral attacking weapon with nine tries, 12 try-assists, and 14 line-break assists in 22 appearances.
Having represented NSW Residents in 2016 and the Junior Kiwis in 2014 and 2015, Dockar–Clay will be primed for another massive season in 2020 in the hopes of earning an NRL debut.
Room for improvement
The Blacktown Workers averaged the most errors of any side in the competition this season (10) and were made to rue a host of opportunities in doing so.
Although having to ravage through a significant part of their playing squad as injuries took their toll, they were ranked ninth for points scored (460) and tries (84) respectively.
Soward's season grading
I think they were really unlucky as Steven Hales had some limited player resources throughout the year and he showed with a full team, once Manly-Warringah had their injuries sorted out, that they could have been a competitor throughout the 2019 season.
I would have liked to have seen them grabbed a few more wins along the way because I really think they could have been a real giant killer towards the end.
This season grading is the opinion of Jamie Soward, based purely on performance factors throughout the 2019 season, and does not nessecarily reflect the views of NSWRL.