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Harold Matthews Cup Season Preview

The prospect of being reigning premiers has added to the excitement and challenge facing Manly Warringah in this year’s NSWRL Harold Matthews Cup competition.

The Sea Eagles took all before them in 2021 to be crowned undefeated minor premiers and premiers, playing a brilliant style of attacking rugby league that saw the side score 250 points and concede just 88 in eight regular season matches.

Manly then disposed of Western Suburbs Magpies 32-12 in the semi-final before beating Parramatta 24-12 in the grand final.

The 2021 team was the most successful in Manly’s history in the Harold Matthews competition and follows on from the club’s inaugural premiership title in 2018.

Heading Manly’s title charge will be new Coach Alex Moore, a 2003 Manly first grade player who returned to the Sea Eagles last year as an Assistant Coach under Harold Matthews Cup Coach Adam McEwan (2022 Jersey Flegg Coach).

Moore has named talented young full-back Lehi Hopoate as captain.

Harold Matthews Cup Preview

A Beacon Hills Bear junior in the Manly JRL competition, Hopoate was a key man in the team’s success last year and has risen through the Sea Eagles Pathways Academy after joining the club at the age of 12.

“It's a huge privilege. I’m just grateful that Alex believes in me to be captain. I’m really looking forward to leading the way,’’ Hopoate said.

Moore said the Sea Eagles have put together a talented squad for this season.

“We still have a lot of the guys like Lehi and (prop) Roy Quiroz-Mapusua from last year, who I thought performed extremely well as younger players,’’ Moore said.

“They were pretty much leaders in that team. We have a lot of guys in the squad that are coming in a year young but they have bought that enthusiasm.

“I feel we are pretty strong across the park, so I’m expecting big things from the squad this year as well.”

Rd 1 vs Canberra Raiders

Saturday, February 5

Raiders Belconnen, Hardwick Cres, Holt. Kick-off 12.30pm

See Manly team here

To watch a live stream, visit the daily telegraph website

 

Acknowledgement of Country

New South Wales Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.