Sea Eagles X-Factor: Chris Bailey

Joining the reigning premiers and pre-season favourites is a double-edged sword. On one side, you’re joining a winning club. On the other – there’s no excuse for failure. For new Manly recruit Chris Bailey - it’s a long way from where he was in 2008.<br><br>Last season Bailey was attempting to help the Newcastle Knights move up the NRL ladder. Now Bailey finds himself at the other end of the spectrum with the club where his older brother Phil first made a name for himself earlier this decade.<br><br>Bailey is looking likely to be Matt Orford’s new halves partner, freeing up Jamie Lyon to make a move back to centre.<br><br>The two played together on Manly’s tour to England and gelled well in Manly’s final trial giving Sea Eagles fans reason to smile.<br>&nbsp;<br>Bailey though is not completely sure the position is his to hold just yet, but if it is he is excited about joining a backline containing the likes of Steve Matai and David ‘Wolfman’ Williams.<br><br>“Five eight is where I want to play though I’m not sure the position is mine yet. I played the World Club Challenge there and the last trial so fingers crossed that Matt Orford and I made a good enough impression.<br><br>I have a lot of improvement in my whole game and I think that’s necessary to help the team succeed.<br><br>I’m also looking forward to linking up with the backline, every player there has a lot of strike power and it’s a pretty imposing team.”<br><br>Bailey seems to have benefitted from the move to Manly and has enjoyed the pre-season.<br><br>“The change has been really good. There have been a few differences, most notably in the training. Des Hasler is a tough coach, but that’s what you need in this era and he certainly makes you work hard.<br><br>“In that sense the pre-season has been a bit difficult, but it’s also been uninterrupted and I’m ready for the real thing to start.”<br><br>When it does Bailey won’t have to wait long to understand what playing at a premiership club is about. While he admits there is outside pressure, with no club having gone back to back since Brisbane in 97 and 98, he insists the most pressure comes from within.<br><br>“There’s pressure for sure. People expect us to do well, but at the end of the day most pressure comes from yourself and coming into the team. What I really want to do is establish myself in the side and contribute.<br><br>“It’s too early in the year to really worry about the end of the season. It’s a bit clichéd but I’ll be taking things week by week.”<br><br>While Bailey has dropped the week to week line most players do, one date is fresh in his mind; April 5.<br><br>That’s when Bailey and his Manly teammates travel up to Newcastle, his home for the last three years and Bailey gets the chance to put one over his Knights buddies and former housemate Kurt Gidley.<br><br>“One of the hardest things when you move is leaving all your mates behind and taking them on, especially Gids. It’s going to be pretty different, but hopefully we can get one over them.”<br><br>