Manly coach Anthony Seibold says securing the services of Haumole Olakau'atu in the off-season was a priority as he is confident that the back-rower can develop into one of the NRL's best players. The Sea Eagles made Olakau'atu the NRL's latest $8 million-dollar-man on Thursday, extending his contract until the end of 2031.
Olakau'atu was already contracted to the club until the end of 2025, but the Sea Eagles moved to prevent him from going on the open market with the likes of the Wests Tigers and St George Illawarra circling. Seibold says the 25-year-old is on the verge of breaking into the Blues side and is confident that his best years are ahead of him.
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"We feel that Haumole's best years are ahead of him and that he can develop into an elite player who can play at State of Origin level for the NSW Blues," Seibold said. "He has already played at Test level for Tonga but he is at that part of his career now where he can play State of Origin.
"If he plays State of Origin, it means he is playing consistently. That's his narrow focus, being consistent at Manly. Haumole is a high-quality player and we love having him. The club has invested in his long-term career and we want Haumole to be a one-club player."
The 25-year-old will likely finish his NRL career with Manly after committing to a further six years. The eight-year deal is the second longest contract in the NRL, only behind the 10-year mammoth deal of Gold Coast's Tino Fa'asuamaleaui.
Anthony Seibold confident new recruit Luke Brooks can recapture old form
Seibold believes he can help Luke Brooks recapture the form that saw him named Dally M Halfback of the Year in 2018. The Manly coach says Brooks' confidence has been decimated by the heavy weight put on his shoulders at the Wests Tigers.
Brooks scored 45 tries in 205 NRL games for the Tigers spanning 11 seasons and was often made the scapegoat for the club's poor performances. The 28-year-old has since moved to the Sea Eagles to start afresh and will partner Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves in 2024.
Seibold says Brooks was unfairly criticised at the Tigers and since arriving at Brookvale his focus has been on showing him some love. "The first thing that we've tried to do is welcome Brooksey with open arms and show him a little bit of love," Seibold told SEN 1170 Sportsday.
"He's a super talented player, think back to 2018 and he was the Dally M Halfback of the year, he's been heavily critiqued over his career and in some ways the forefront of a lot of criticism of the Wests Tigers not making the finals. We know he's a hell of a player… we want him to feel like he’s a Manly player, he just needs to come to our club, work hard, have a smile on his face and enjoy his footy again. "
- with AAP
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