After a slow start to the season, including two losses from their first two games, the Manly Sea Eagles have bounced back to record two big victories against the Cowboys and Bulldogs.
The Sea Eagles have won by a combined margin of 66-8 over their last two appearances, including a 36-0 thrashing of the Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon. It was in that match where Daly Cherry-Evans returned to his devastating best – recording a remarkable five try assists in his side’s huge win.
The Bulldogs simply had no answer for Cherry-Evans as he and the Sea Eagles dominated the match from start to finish as they ran in seven unanswered tries over 80 devastating minutes.
Tom Trbojevic was one of the lone bright spots in a poor 2016 season for Trent Barrett’s side, and the young fullback has continued his superb form into 2017. So far this year, he has scored three tries along with making five linebreaks in four games, and is averaging over 200 metres per match.
The combination between Trbojevic and Cherry-Evans has continued to improve, highlighted by a brilliant try against the Bulldogs, in which Trbojevic broke through the line, passed it off to DCE who then put a perfect grubber through for the fullback to score just before halftime.
If the pair can keep up their form, they could prove a handful for any opposition.
On top of their dangerous attack, the Sea Eagles’ defence has shown progress over their last few outings. To hold any team try-less is an impressive feat these days, even if it did come against a poor Bulldogs attack. However, what is most notable is their defensive performance against the Cowboys.
Despite the North Queenslanders enjoying a 56 per cent share of possession over the course of the match as well as 62 per cent of the territory, Manly were able to hold the 2015 premiers to just one try over the course of 80 minutes.
Most NRL experts and fans, including myself, were tipping another unsuccessful campaign for the Sea Eagles in 2017, however their start to the season has shown you shouldn’t count them out just yet.