Squad Breakdown: Manly Sea Eagles top 17 analysed

Last year's NRL SuperCoach runner-up Tim Williams picks his top 17 at Manly including analysis and buy rating of every player.

Pre-season Squad Breakdown

Manly start the year without their main man Tommy Turbo, so can they fire without the star fullback?

With a few new faces, the Sea Eagles boast several decent options in the lower price brackets to begin the season.

Leading into the season we’ll take a look at every club’s predicted 17 to start the year, providing SuperCoach analysis on every single player as well as a rating for their round 1 buy credentials.

Here’s how we think the Sea Eagles will line up and whether or not it’s worth investing in their squad to kick-off the season.

If there’s a player who may miss the opening round or two, we’ve added them to the 17 with analysis for SuperCoach purposes.

Obviously there’s plenty to play out during the pre-season that’ll alter starting sides and buy ratings, so we’ll update this as frequently as possible as it all unfolds.

The Sea Eagles have the bye in Round 13 and play in Round 17.

Click on the player to reveal their analysis and Round 1 buy rating.

*Scroll down to the bottom of the page for a key on all SuperCoach relevant abbreviations.

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BENCH

Josh Schuster $203,100 // 5/8 // 2020 ave: 31.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

You can see the narrative, Schuster starts off the bench, nobody owns, Foran goes down injured in Round 1, and Schuster becomes the most purchased player in Round 2-3 (probably as a direct replacement for Moylan who pulled a hammy).

I really hope for Foz’s sake I’m wrong.

Schuster played just one game last season in the 5/8 role, scoring 31 points in 65 minutes.

If he is off the bench you can’t really make a case to buy, if he’s starting he’ll be a near must-have.

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Andrew Davey $336,600 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 38.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Here’s hoping big Andrew starts on the edge in Round 1!

He’s highly regarded having been recruited from the Eels, and he was impressive in the trial loss to the Tigers.

In eight games in his debut season, he averaged 40MPG, scoring at 0.96PPM.

In that time he had nine tacklebreaks, six offloads and two try-assists.

If he starts, he’ll warrant massive consideration as a mid-ranger.

If named on the bench it’s a bit too much of a risk for mine.

*Rating based on playing off the bench.

Josh Aloiai $495,600 // FRF // 2020 ave: 55.9 // Rd 1 buy rating:

Last season, the former Tiger averaged 49MPG, with 47BPG at an output of 1.13PPM.

All very strong numbers, but even if he does start I can’t see him playing many more minutes which makes it hard to make a case.

In 18 games in 2020, he had 25 tacklebreaks, eight offloads and four tries, so there is some attacking upside.

He’s an avoid for me, and if he finds himself for some reason playing 55+ minutes I’ll strongly consider.

Sean Keppie $270,000 // FRF // 2020 ave: 30.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

Keppie faces competition from the likes of Haumole Olakau’atu and Morgan Boyle for the final bench spot.

Regardless, he averaged 30MPG last season, so it’s hard to see him improving on that.

OTHERS

Christian Tuipulotu $237,400 // CTW // 2020 ave: 67.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Tuipulotu is a chance at starting ahead of Jason Saab in Round 1.

In one game for the Roosters against the Storm last season, he scored a try in his 67 points, with a huge 34 in base.

He’s a decent purchase if named to start the year on the wing, although like Saab, no Turbo and the tough draw is a worry.

*Rating based on being picked to start in Round 1.

Lachlan Croker $242,700 // HOK-5/8 // 2020 ave: 27.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: -/10

Croker will come into contention on return from injury early in the season.

SUPERCOACH TERMINOLOGY KEY

MPG = Minutes per game

PPG = Points per game

PPM= Points per minute

BPG = Base per game (point accrued in tackles + runs + missed tackles)

POD = Point of difference

BREAKEVEN (B/E) = The score a player must record to earn a price rise.

*Please note all our stats are taken from the geniuses at nrlsupercoachstats.com

Dylan Walker

$306,300 // CTW-5/8 // 2020 ave: 34.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Walker is likely to deputise at fullback with Tommy Turbo out.

Regardless, he’s never really been SuperCoach relevant outside of 2017 when he averaged 56PPG.

His past three seasons have produced averages of 35, 42 and 34PPG.

Injury did limit him to just 58MPG last season though, so he’s almost certainly undervalued to begin 2021.

In five 80 minute games prior to injury last season (one was 69), he averaged 48.2PPG.

That included a 16 point stinker against Melbourne in the rain in Round 1.

On that basis, you could make some sort of case for him, particularly if he is named at fullback if expected.

I’ll avoid, but will be keeping a very close eye on him in the opening weeks.

Reuben Garrick

$363,200 // CTW // 2020 ave: 41.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Garrick was pretty ordinary in SuperCoach terms last season, but he did average 52PPG in 2019, so there’s certainly potential. In 2020, he had just 22BPG which isn’t great.

The big factor in his SuperCoach credentials is obviously the fact he’s a goal-kicker.

If Tommy Turbo was on deck there’d be a case, but without his star fullback feeding him ball I don’t see the upside.

Without Turbo there’s also likely to be less tries scored, meaning less goal-kicking opportunities.

Moses Suli

$363,200 // CTW // 2020 ave: 41.0 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Suli is another I have in the category of ‘SuperCoach gun that’s never been’.

He busts tackles, has high attacking upside, and a terrific 30BPG.

He’s always had a decent offload, but likely under strict instruction he put the arm away in 2020, offloading just twice all year.

If he gets permission to pop the arm more often, and Manly find some attacking form, I can see him figuring at some stage of the year, but not for Round 1.

Morgan Harper

$397,000 // CTW // 2020 ave: 49.8 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Harper is a very promising footballer and got the nod at fullback in Manly’s trial, but I expect him to either start at centre or miss completely.

Brad Parker a favourite of Dez Hasler, so he very well may play at centre.

In four 80 minute games at centre last season Harper scored 101, 75, 33 and 28 with a very respectable 30BPG.

He broke 19 tackles in those four games which is very exciting for SuperCoach.

Regardless, there’s job security issues and he’s awkwardly priced, so it’s a pass for now.

Jason Saab

$233,200 // CTW // 2020 ave: 29.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Tommy Turbo’s injury will only help Saab’s chances of getting a start on the wing for Manly.

It appears to be down to him and Christian Tuipulotu for the spot.

In four 80 minute games last season for the Dragons he averaged 29PPG with just 20BPG.

I’d be far happier to buy if Trbojevic was available to feed Saab quality ball, but with him out I think it hurts the recruit a lot.

If you do invest, I’d avoid playing in your 17 with his low base.

Kieran Foran

$480,900 // 5/8-HOK // 2020 ave: 54.3 // Rd 1 buy rating: 2/10

Foz was extremely consistent last year, producing his highest average in years.

He scored 25 in his first game of the year in Round 4, then scored under 44 just once (32) in his next 13 games.

His 25BPG is okay for a half, and while there’s potential, it’d take a mad man to buy him with his injury history.

He was also a focal point of attack for the Dogs, at Manly I see him as the main link man between DCE and Turbo when fit.

Daly Cherry-Evans

$570,500 // HFB // 2020 ave: 64.4 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

I’m not a fan of DCE as a Round 1 buy, but with such a lack of decent reserve halfback options behind Nathan Cleary you have to consider him.

If he was goal-kicking I’d be very tempted as an early season POD, but it’s expected that Reuben Garrick will take the tee.

He’s been very consistent over the years, averaging 64.4PPG last season, and 62PPG in each of the three seasons prior.

He’s never quite been able to crack the elite class of SuperCoach halves though.

His 22BPG last season wasn’t great, but he makes up for it in attacking upside.

In a show of his ceiling, he had three tons last season, but also three scores under 25.

The dagger for mine is Manly’s early draw, facing the Roosters and Rabbitohs in the opening fortnight.

If it weren’t for this I’d be seriously tempted, but it’s enough for me to steer clear.

Marty Taupau

$531,000 // FRF // 2020 ave: 59.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Big Marty has some enticement in the hope he plays more minutes with Addin Fonua-Blake having left the club.

He averaged 45MPG last season, but played 50-52MPG in all three seasons prior.

Going back even further to 2016, he averaged a mammoth 65MPG.

He scored at a huge 1.33PPM in 2020 with 44BPG.

His big SuperCoach weapon has always been his offload, freeing the arm 35 times last year in 18 games, along with 42 tacklebreaks.

If he played even 5 minutes extra and scored at 1.2PPM, that’d be an extra 6 points on his average which would return him to gun territory.

I won’t start with him as I think the likes of TKO and Paulo are better and safer options at FRF to begin the year, but watch his minutes closely early on.

Cade Cust

$424,300 // HOK-5/8 // 2020 ave: 47.9 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

Cust has plenty of talent, but job security is an issue when you’re paying well over $400k.

The likely move to hooker is an interesting one, and with his availability in the halves he could be a big improver if he keeps the spot and excels in the position.

If he does play big minutes at nine he’ll have a very strong base for a halves option.

Lachlan Croker was a big chance at starting in the role in Round 1 before another injury struck him.

There are too many uncertainties to warrant starting with him.

Taniela Paseka

$420,800 // FRF // 2020 ave: 47.5 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Paseka is likely to win AFB’s vacant starting role and he’s very interesting to start the year.

Last year he averaged 36MPG, with 34BPG at a huge 1.33PPM.

If he plays an extra 10 minutes per game which is very possible, he’d be starting well underpriced to begin the year.

In 18 games last season, he had 30 tacklebreaks, 18 offloads, three tries and two try-assists.

They’re serious attacking stats for a FRF option.

I don’t think I can start the year with him, but you can make a very strong case for him and he’d be a massive POD play.

Jack Gosiewski

$316,900 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 35.8 // Rd 1 buy rating: 3/10

The Goz is fighting for Joel Thompson’s vacant edge role with the highly regarded Andrew Davey.

Just about every SuperCoach has their fingers and toes crossed that Davey wins the spot.

Dez seems to be a big fan of the Goz, so I can see him starting with Davey playing as an impact off the bench.

From there, I can see Davey winning the spot on form further into the season.

The Goz isn’t much of a SuperCoach player, evidenced by his 0.76PPM in 2020 and 0.81PPM in 2019.

That was in 47MPG and 40MPG respectively.

The year prior, he averaged 60MPG and his output dropped to a rubbish 0.6PPM.

Obviously there’s a case to be made if he plays 80 minutes, but even then the upside is minimal.

Curtis Sironen

$536,400 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 60.6 // Rd 1 buy rating: 4/10

Siro has some decent SuperCoach attributes, and it’s good to see him string 30 games together in the past two seasons after injury plagued the early stages of his career.

In 18 games in 2020, he played 77MPG, with 44BPG at 0.79PPM.

His offload is his weapon, freeing the arm 27 times to go with a solid 34 tacklebreaks.

He has attacking upside with ball in hand, and I can see him averaging similar this season.

As such, there’s probably little value in starting with him in Round 1 in a stacked 2RF position.

Jake Trbojevic

$582,500 // 2RF // 2020 ave: 65.8 // Rd 1 buy rating: 5/10

Can Jurbo return to his star SuperCoach ways in 2021?

It’s a mark of your ability when an average of 65.8PPG is considered a down year.

In the three seasons prior, he averaged 63, 71 and 73PPG.

In 2020 he had a very strong 56BPG and scored under 50 just once all season (44).

I just think that his SuperCoach game isn’t suited under Hasler who likes to utilise him as the link man between the hooker and halves.

Rather than drop the ball under the arm and put his head down, he just distributes out the back or onto another forward.

This not only impacts his base, but also his ability to accrue attacking stats which he’s very capable of.

While I’ll be chasing 2RFs with higher upside early on, I can see Jurbo as a potential improver this season, but I think there’s better options for a similar price.

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