Deep into pre-season training, the Manly Sea Eagles don’t seem to be showing any ill effects from their punishing 2007 Grand Final loss.
While many say “You need to lose one before you win one!” – There has been many NRL teams that have gone within a whisker of winning the Grand Final and then disappear into the cellar in the years to follow.
Regardless of the talent on display at Manly in 2007, the crushing Grand Final defeat must have been hard for the squad to have forgotten. The Eagles have also lost some quality players from their 2007 squad; the likes of Michael Monaghan; easily the Eagles best player last year and livewire pivot Travis Burns have now moved on – but balancing the scales is some impressive recruits; the likes of which weren’t burnt by the heavy NRL Grand Final loss the Eagles received.
Josh Perry, Heath L’Estrange and former NRL flyer David Vaealiki all come on board with the Eagles for this coming NRL season and the depth across the squad looks impressive for Manly.
Will Manly be a force in NRL 2008? Well, they will certainly be a Top 8 team – however the loss of Michael Monaghan will severely hurt Manly. The creative and passionate Monaghan was an attacking genius for the Eagles; he was able to graft wins out on occasions and could always spark their impressive backline.
The other problem hindering Manly is the lack of a true pivot. In the loss of Burns, Manly will have to continue to use Jamie Lyon in the halves and while Lyon possess skills and ability – his dynamics simply don’t suit pivot in the modern day NRL game.
Having said all that, Manly will remain a power in 2008 NRL – however, they won’t repeat the 2007 feat of making the Grand Final.