Perrett embraces his sea change
They say a change is as good as a holiday, and for Sea Eagles recruit Lloyd Perrett, truer words have never been spoken.
After three seasons of first grade with the Bulldogs, the 22-year-old made the decision to move to Sydney's northern beaches in the off-season and it's clear the change of scenery has worked wonders for the skilful prop forward.
Perrett played 24 matches for the blue and whites – all from the bench – but was never given the opportunity to play his natural game; something he bemoaned when speaking to media at Manly's training base on Thursday morning.
While he remains an interchange player at the Sea Eagles, there has been a notable change to his game with Perrett throwing more offloads (12) than he did in three seasons at the Bulldogs (four).
"I think I'm just a lot more confident," Perrett replied when asked how his game had changed since joining the Sea Eagles.
"When I was at the Bulldogs, I was playing my role and I don't think it complemented the way I play and what makes me good and the reason why I made first grade.
"Now that I'm here, I think the fact that I'm allowed to play the way that I know I'm good at playing, I think it makes me look a lot better because I feel like I was just a role player at the Bulldogs.
"I just ran the ball and tackled and that was it, but now that I'm at Manly I'm allowed to offload the ball, I'm allowed to run around, I'm allowed to use my footwork and it's not as rigid and structured which is good for me because that's not the type of player I am and it's not where I excel."
Perrett and Addin Fonua-Blake have been two of Manly's most consistent players off the bench this season, and the hard-working prop puts it down to the faith shown by coach Trent Barrett.
"He honestly doesn't speak too much about it; he just tells us to play our game," Perrett said of his coach's influence.
"He trusts us and I think that does a lot for myself and Addin. We're only young – 22 years old – so that sort of thing gives us a lot of confidence. He just lets us jump on the field and do what we're good at.
"Addin is that powerful player who runs over everyone and I think I've got a bit of that, but I'm not as powerful as Addin. I try to get on the field, use a bit of footwork, use a bit of skill and use my size."
He might be new to the area but it hasn't taken long for Perrett to embrace Manly's ethos of 'us against the world'; a belief that has helped them silence the critics who predicted them to miss out on the finals.
Instead, the Sea Eagles have ignored the outside noise to sit inside the top four with eight rounds remaining, and it's that fine line between confidence and arrogance that could earn them a double chance come the business end of the season.
"I'm new to this Manly club and the whole culture up here, but I live on the northern beaches now and I feel like that's kind of the Manly way. The northern beaches way is they don't really care what anybody else thinks," he said.
"When I was at other clubs, it's something I noticed that everyone hates Manly and I never knew why, but now that I'm up here, nobody cares what they think and they just get on with the job because that's the culture around here. I feel like we're like that on the field and we don't mind if people hate us and we don't mind if people doubt us. We just go out there and we just try to win anyway.
"You don't want it to translate into a bit of arrogance, but I think sometimes a little bit of arrogance is necessary on the field. You have to back yourself and you have to be confident, but obviously not too confident because that's bad."