Back-rower Joel Thompson has joined the club from the St George Illawarra Dragons but the team otherwise looks largely similar to the 2017 iteration.NRL.com expert Jamie Soward says:”For Trent Barrett, he’s seen the blueprint that works for Manly which is having Cherry-Evans play that six role where he can run around and play on the ball and get the ball when he wants it and having the guy alongside him who can control and kick. Croker is going to be important towards that.”He’ll be the starting six. Jackson Hastings I don’t think has quite worked out where his best position is, whether it’s fullback, halves or hooker but he’ll definitely keep the pressure on.”They got the best out of Sironen and Winterstein last year, it will come down to whether they can get the best out of them again.”NRL.com’s predicted Round 1 team:1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Dylan Walker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Aku Uate, 6 Lachie Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Marty Taupau, 9 Api Koroisau, 10 Darcy Lussick, 11 Curtis Sironen, 12 Joel Thompson, 13 Jake Trbojevic. Interchange: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Lloyd Perrett, 16 Addin Fonua-Blake, 17 Frank Winterstein. Reserves: 18 Jackson Hastings, 19 Shaun Lane, 20 Matthew Wright, 21 Jack Gosiewski.
Manly predicted Round 1 line-up: Soward on who plays pivot