Barrett urges Suli to seize Manly lifeline
Trent Barrett has urged Manly Sea Eagles recruit Moses Suli to make the most of his latest rugby league lifeline with the youngster joining his third club in two months.
Suli linked with Manly this week after being released first by Wests Tigers, and then Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs 28 days later having not been able to meet the professional standards required for first grade.
The 19-year-old won't play this weekend and is yet to begin training with the club, however it is hoped a stronger support base including close friends from his under 20s days and his old schoolboy coach Wayne Lambkin can keep him on track at Manly.
Suli's rise and fall in the glare of the NRL spotlight has taken its toll, but Barrett says it will still come down to the undoubtedly talented youngster to make the most of his latest chance.
"That's up to him. He's only been there a few days," Barrett told reporters on Thursday.
"He's not a bad kid. He's a nice kid. He's just got to get a few things sorted out.
"We'll give him an opportunity to do that.
"But certainly my focus this week's been on the first grade side. We'll do our best there but ultimately it's up to the individual. I'll just take that a day at a time."
It's understood Suli has agreed to a one-year deal with the Sea Eagles, however the club is still hamstrung by the NRL's ongoing investigation into alleged salary cap cheating.
It had been hoped a verdict would be delivered before the club's season opener against Newcastle Knights on Friday, though Barrett insisted the saga has had no effect on his side going into round one.
While Manly's recruitment and retention has been hampered by the investigation, Friday's most intriguing battle centres around new Knights half Mitchell Pearce and opposing skipper Daly Cherry-Evans.
The pair could well have been teammates for this clash given Barrett's pursuit of the NSW halfback prior to Christmas, which saw Cherry-Evans reportedly prepared to shift to five-eighth to accommodate Pearce's arrival.
Manly's release of Blake Green to the Warriors and Pearce's subsequent move to Newcastle will see one-game rookie Lachlan Croker line up in the No.6 beside Cherry-Evans.
Barrett was quick to play down any suggestion Croker had to fill a similar game-management role to Green, which saw Cherry-Evans' running game unleashed in 2017.
"Lachlan Croker's a completely different player to Blake Green," Barrett said.
"Cherry's role in the team won't change too much. We don't rely on one player too much to get us around the field, everyone's got a job to do.
"He's an out-and-out half. He's got a very good kicking game and is a very good defender Crokes and he's a tough kid as well.
"He and Cherry get along particularly well and the spine's looked really settled. I certainly don't see any teething problems there."