TRANS-TASMAN PREVIEWS | We've got a look over and made our picks for the opening night of the rep ro...
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Manly Sea Eagles By Michael Treacy LeagueUnlimited.com
1. Brett Stewart, 2. Michael Robertson, 3. Steve Bell, 4. Steve Matai, 5. Michael Bani, 6. Jamie Lyon, 7. Matt Orford, 8. Brent Kite, 9. Matt Ballin, 10. Jason King, 11. Glenn Stewart, 12. Anthony Watmough 13. Luke Williamson RES: 14. Josh Perry, 15. Adam Cuthbertson, 16. Jack Afamasanga, 17. Steve Menzies
Player to have a big year - Josh Perry
Some may suggest Josh Perry is a Newcastle reject, but he has come to Manly on the ringing endorsement of NRL legend Ben Kennedy. Perry was then offered the opportunity to join the NRL runners up in 2008 and reinvent his career. Once touted as an Origin hopeful for NSW, it was always his intensity at training and his weight that let him down.
Perry is reportedly looking fitter than ever and ready to realise his potential as one of the best props in the NRL. Expect Perry to lift his game to scary heights in 2008 to prove he is a valuable player and make the Knights regret their decision release him. If trial form and pre-season training is any indication, Perry is well on his way to achieving that objective.
Rookie to Watch - Michael Bani
Michael Bani is what you would call a last chance player. A man who grew up in harsh conditions in the Torres Strait islands who had a natural talent for the game of Rugby League. However, while his natural talent was there, the alcohol was a problem causing him to almost throw away his football career. In 2007, Bani changed his attitude and was rewarded for his hard work by Des Hasler with a First Grade debut late in the season when Chris Hicks was injured.
Bani took that opportunity and made a statement that in 2008, he will be bigger, better, quicker and a ready made option for the Eagles when Hicks departed the club. Des Hasler was quoted as saying that he believes Bani could develop into something special and it