Luke Brooks says he's looking forward to less pressure when he plays alongside Daly Cherry-Evans at Manly after years of scrutiny at Wests Tigers. The 28-year-old began preseason with the Sea Eagles this week after spending more than a decade at the Tigers.
His move to Manly comes on the back of years of struggle at the Tigers after being named the Dally M Halfback of the Year in 2018. Speaking to the media on Friday, the halfback said he is excited to begin a new chapter in his NRL career and believes playing with Cherry-Evans takes a lot of pressure off him.
'EVERYONE KNOWS': Massive call made on Mal Meninga's future
"It definitely (feels like a clean slate)," Brooks said. "It's going to be good for me, a bit of a change. I was at the Tigers for a long time so it gets me out of my comfort zone by coming here."
Brooks says Seibold wants him to take a back seat to Cherry-Evans and focus on his running game. "(Seibold) talked about taking a back seat because I copped it a lot over there (at the Tigers). I'm looking forward to laying low here," Brooks said.
"(Cherry-Evans) is definitely one of the reasons I signed here to be alongside him. He's a quality player and I think he keeps getting better with age. Taking my opportunities and running the ball is when I play my best footy so I think that'll definitely help me.
"I still think I've got the best footy in front of me. Coming here, a lot of the pressure is off me so I can just focus on footy. I think I'm playing my best footy when I'm enjoying it so that's what I think will happen here. I've moved on. I have a lot of mates there, a lot of good people I've known for so long, and I honestly hope they do well."
Brooks is set to wrestle the Manly five-eighth spot off Josh Schuster, with the Sea Eagles youngster expected to be shifted into the back-row.
Brooks believes Tigers will improve under Benji Marshall
While Brooks is looking forward to a new challenge at Manly, he believes the Tigers will improve under the tutelage of club legend Benji Marshall. He is also backing his old club to avoid their third consecutive wooden spoon in 2024.
Marshall will be hoping to turn around the Tigers' fortunes and reports suggest he will move for NRL free agent Jarome Luai. Penrith's triple premiership-winning five-eighth was the highest-profile player to hit the open market on November 1 and he can sign with a rival club for 2025.
Luai grew up a Tigers fan, idolising Marshall, who has overseen the recruitment of new playmaking options Jayden Sullivan and Aidan Sezer. Sezer and injured five-eighth Adam Doueihi are only contracted through 2024, however, so the club will need to look to the future.
Despite rumours circulating that Luai is their primary targets, new Tigers coach has refused to comment on transfer speculation. "One thing I'm not going to do is talk about recruitment publicly," Marshall said.
"Because it does have the effect to ruin a deal if stuff gets out or stuff gets leaked. All players that come into the market, you've got to have a look at, especially if they're marquee players (like Luai). But we've signed halves, we've got four halves for the season going into it. We'll prioritise that at the moment."
- with AAP
Sign up to our newsletter and score the biggest sport stories of the week.