Manly Warringah prop Toff Sipley is using the disappointment of not playing finals football as his driving motivation for the 2022 Telstra Premiership season.
Sipley played 20 matches for the Sea Eagles last season in his finest year for Manly, but was overlooked for selection by Coach Des Hasler for all three finals matches in Queensland.
“I felt like I did my part to be able to play in the finals, but it is what it is. I sat down with Des and he was really opened as to why I didn’t play,’’ Sipley said.
“It was kind of a blessing in disguise. The silver lining I take from it is that it has put a chip on my shoulder this season to show why I should have played in the finals.
“I can’t be too disappointed because we had such a good team and it was hard to get picked in it.”
Although Sipley didn’t feature in the finals, the very popular forward ensured his team-mates spirits remained high during the three-month relocation on the Sunshine Coast.
His efforts saw the 27-year-old proudly named the 2021 Club Person of the Year.
“It was a massive experience. We all got along really well with each other, especially with the amount of time we spent together, " Sipley said.
“Like any team, the more time you spend together, the closer you get. It just helps with the bond on and off the field, and that showed with the season we had last year.”
With 34 games behind him now for the Sea Eagles, Sipley has adopted the same mindset that worked so well last season for him this year.
“If you look at how I was going into 2021, I was probably close to giving it all up and quitting footy after not getting one NRL game in 2020,’’ he added.
“To get 20 games last year was due to the mindset I had of just going in and enjoying my footy. If I have that same mindset for 2022, hopefully I play 20 games or more.”
Sipley also has one other aim this season of adding to his try tally after scoring his first NRL try – and then his second – in the same round 16 win over the Bulldogs last season.
“When I do score tries, I only go up in doubles,’’ Sipley added, cheekily.