After their ten year run of finals football was ended in 2015 the Sea Eagles decided to make the move away from the old guard as Kieran Foran, Matt Ballin and David Williams departed the Northern Beaches following Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart who left at the end of 2014. The Sea Eagles hoped that the acquisitions of Dylan Walker, Martin Taupau and Nate Myles would help push them back into the top eight but instead they’d produce their second worst win total this century.
Now heading into the 2017 season the Sea Eagles have added Jamie Lyon and Jamie Buhrer to the list of departures and it seems unlikely that Steve Matai or Brett Stewart will play again either. Matai and Stewart have been terrible for a couple of seasons, while Buhrer is oft injured and Lyon in decline so they aren’t impossible to replace. Unfortunately the Sea Eagles haven’t really even tried to replace them as their 2017 acquisitions include players like Curtis Sironen, Jonathan Wright, Akuila Uate and Shaun Lane.
The good news for the Sea Eagles also comes with some bad news. The good news is their four best players are all signed to at least 2020 with Martin Taupau, Jake and Tom Trbojevic all signing long term extensions to stay with Daly Cherry Evans. The bad news is these four contracts look like they will take up something like 40 to 50% of the team’s salary cap. When you add the fact that Dylan Walker and Nate Myles won’t come cheap for the next two seasons Manly fans better get used to recruitment crops that don’t provide much thrills.
The reality is this Sea Eagles side is going to feature too much Uate, Wright, Wright and Sironen to be a good side in 2017 and even their best case scenario would be a side that can barely make the eight. All of the play-off sides from last year will be better than Manly, the Tigers are improving, Parramatta won’t be docked points, the Rabbits will be better and the Roosters won’t have the same everything goes wrong season. That will probably leave Manly scrapping with the Dragons for a 14th placed finish.
The position battles will come in the outside backs as Uate, Wright, Wright, Parker and Lewis Brown battle for spots alongside Dylan Walker. They all look like crappy options to me. Brian Kelly is the one fantasy coaches will be hoping for. If Lewis Brown does end up at centre then Curtis Sironen and Shaun Lane are battling for a place in the back row, lord help us.
2016 Positional Minute Splits
If there is such a thing as a league average way to split minutes this is it.
The Sea Eagles depth looks paper thin at centre, wing and second row. I refuse to disclose which Wright I have as starting centre. Could go either way. Stewart and Matai are both injured.
Average Fantasy Points Allowed Per Position
Fullbacks carved up the Sea Eagles last season. So did props. In between those positions it was mostly below average.
Key Fantasy Changes
Jamie Buhrer (when healthy) and Jamie Lyon (before he got old) were decent fantasy players. Whether their replacements will be too remains to be seen. If they are Curtis Sironen and Jono Wright the answer is a big fat no.