By Brady Foray Writers
The Sea Eagles squawked into 2012 with a premiership under their wings and with confidence they could go back-to-back. While they looked every bit of a premiership-winning side for the majority of last season when it came to crunch time, the team never lived up to expectations. Losing to the Bulldogs in the first week of the finals, the Sea Eagles were lucky to escape with victory against the Cowboys the week after. Their preliminary final against the Melbourne Storm was a different story. The trophy they had high hopes of holding on to was snatched from them by the Storm in thrashing fashion.
While the Sea Eagles have lost internationals Dean Whare, Tony Williams and forward duo Darcy Lussick and Daniel Harrison the squad is relatively unchanged. Their depth is as strong as it has been in years thanks to the signings of Richie Fa’aoso, Brenton Lawrence, David Gower, Esi Tonga, Kayne Lawton and Justin Horo. Expect a big year from the Sea Eagles; it may be their last hurrah for quite a while yet. Age is a fickle enemy for aging veterans Lyon, Watmough, Matai, King, Kite, Ballin and the Stewart brothers.
Signings: Michael Chee Kam (Raiders), Richie Fa’aoso (Melbourne Storm), Ligi Sao (Warriors), James Hasson (Sharks), Ben Musolino (Dragons), Brenton Lawrence (Titans), Dane Chisholm (Wests Tigers), Jacob Gagan (Eels NYC), David Gower (Dragons), Peta Hiku (Warriors NYC), Jesse Sene-Lefao (Panthers), Kayne Lawton (Titans), Esi Tonga (Eels), Justin Horo (Eels), Jamil Hopoate (Eels), Blake Harrison (Eels), Tim Robinson (released), Tom Symonds (Roosters)
Departures: Dean Whare (Panthers), Tony Williams (Bulldogs), Darcy Lussick (Eels), Daniel Harrison (Eels), Michael Oldfield (Roosters), Josh Drinkwater (Dragons), Liam Foran, Vic Mauro (Salford)
Key to Success:
What is the Sea Eagles without their inspirational co-captain, Jamie Lyon? The answer: an absolute shamble. The Sea Eagles can attribute many of the successes to Lyon (pictured left) over the past few seasons. When on song, Lyon is the deadliest centre in the competition. In 2012, Lyon scored 190 of his team’s points alongside his averaged 75 metres per game, his 55 tackle breaks, seven line breaks and 18 try assists (more than both halves Cherry-Evans and Foran, individually).
Player to Watch:
Jorge Taufua had a ridiculous first foray into the first grade arena in 2012. Taufua solidified his position in the team early in the season and never left. Taufua, who crossed the white stripe 10 times in his rookie season, went so well he was determined Man of the Match in the Sea Eagles’ finals win over North Queensland. Barring his try-scoring escapades, Taufua managed to average 142 metres on a weekly basis and break over 100 tackles. Let’s hope second year syndrome doesn’t affect this freak of nature.
Erratic Eddy says:
“Apart from Penrith and Cronulla, the Sea Eagles have signed brilliantly this season. While most that have signed on will not be first picked for the first grade side, what they have done for their depth is exceptional. Names like Lawrence, Horo, Gower, Tonga and Lawton while not known as regular first-graders can only help the club if they are to fall on hard times.”
“Four clubs in the space of a year. That is the reality Richie Fa’aoso is facing this year after leaving the Newcastle Knights, signing with the Melbourne Storm….whose feeder side is the Cronulla Sharks. Now he’s at the Sea Eagles in surely unprecedented circumstances.”
Strongest 17: 1-Brett Stewart 2- Jorge Taufua 3- Jamie Lyon (C) 4- Steve Matai 5- David Williams 6- Kieran Foran 7-Daly Cherry-Evans 8- Jason King 9- Matt Ballin 10- Brett Kite 11- Anthony Watmough 12- Jamie Buhrer 13- Glenn Stewart Interchange: 14- Ben Farrar 15- Joe Galuvao 16- Richie Fa’aoso 17- Brenton Lawrence 18th Man: George Rose.
Predicted Position: 5th