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Levi's in fashion this season: Manly like style of new arrival

Danny Levi lobbed at Manly headquarters on Wednesday and made an immediate impression on his new team.

He arrived at the club's North Narrabeen training headquarters to meet his new teammates after parting ways on Tuesday with Newcastle.

The former Knights hooker was put through the obligatory medical and physical tests, but won't start full training with the NRL side until Thursday and Friday.

Defence coach John Cartwright already likes what he sees as he moulds the Manly pack for 2020 without the considerable talents of last season's hookers: Api Koroisau has joined Penrith while Manase Fainu has a shoulder infection and has been stood down after being charged in relation to a stabbing at a church dance in western Sydney last October.

Fainu has pleaded not guilty in Liverpool Local Court to several charges. His case returns to court next week.

A separate issue for the 21-year-old is a serious infection as a result of left shoulder surgery in the off-season. 

Danny Levi during his time at Newcastle.
Danny Levi during his time at Newcastle. ©NRL Photos

So it's little surprise the arrival of Levi – a Samoa and New Zealand international – sent a sigh of relief through many at the Sea Eagles camp.

He still had a year left on his Knights contract but since the club had signed Sharks rake Jayden Brailey in the off-season, it had made Levi's NRL future a little shaky.

"He seems very fit and probably hasn't had that long off really," Cartwright told "He played a bit of rep footy [with Samoa] at the end of the season so that's probably kept him in good nick.

"But he was doing everything today that you want a hooker to do very naturally."

The big question – is the 24-year-old an 80-minute player, or will he share the dummy-half duties this year – cannot be answered this early on.

"That's not decided at the moment. But always having some depth with your hooking helps with the rest and quality of service," Cartwright said.

"It's a long, long season and by having that partnership like Api and Manase had, it helped the whole team as well as each other."

Three players have already been spending time at hooker at training: Cade Cust, Lachlan Croker and Zach Dockar-Clay.

"They've all been doing a bit in the No.9 role. Although they're primarily halves there seems to be the crossover between halves making good hookers," said Cartwright, who expects Levi to be up to the task of taking on the club's plays and structures with just a few weeks before the trials.

"Just watching him over the past couple of years you can see him emerging as a good, young hooker. He brings good NRL experience to us and also through his international footy," he said.

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"He came into Newcastle when they were under-going some big changes in their roster. He was brought through with a lot of other younger guys by Brownie [former coach Nathan Brown] and has really grown as a first-grade player, gaining that knowledge, and sharpening his skills.

"He's got really good speed out of dummy half and knows the sort of awareness you need from that position.

"It's a shame he wasn't here from the start [of pre-season] but I commend the club for waiting to see who might be available, taking the time before making the right time."

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