North Beach Sea Eagles – 2023 Fuel To Go & Play Premiership Season Preview

BY PETER ROWE

In part two of our 2023 Fuel to Go and Play Premiership preview, PETER ROWE  looks at  the chances of  2022 grand finalists North Beach Sea Eagles.

 

For North Beach Sea Eagles head coach Phil Douche, the only way is up, and after the disappointment of a 2022 Grand Final loss, he has set his sights firmly on winning the Fuel to Go and Play Premiership in 2023.

Of course four other teams will play a big part win that ambition. But Douche has spent the summer quietly building a strong squad, looking to add depth to what he achieved last season.

“A lot of out team from last season’s Grand Final are back, about 70-80 per cent , but it ’s a long season and I knew we needed to added some quality to ensure we’re in the mix come August,” Douche said this week.

“We want go one better than last year, so we need to make sure we’ve got cover for any injuries and minimise any excuses.”

The Sea Eagles have lost Ryan Woolley to the Canberra Raiders, but welcome back fullback Bailey Millar who trialled with Cronulla before heading back to WA recently.

“Bailey got caught up in a bit club politics, so he has returned, but he’s set himself some big goals for 2023, so I’m excited for him,” Douche said.

Dual Ken Allen Medalist Tyrone Cranston is back at the club after spells over east in Queensland and NSW and Kayd Donkin is also back after a short time in Sydney.

Douche has added a couple of Poms to his squad as well, with Ted Shand and Daniel Johnson new additions, the latter a former West Hull product who played for Great Britain Armed Forces during a spell in the Royal Navy.

Another Brit, Bobby Downes, is due to join the club before their season starts. Downes a product of the Super League Hull FC’s academy.

Josh Papworth, from the Newcastle comp and Kallum Guliver-Brown, a South African who has played Q Cup are also additions to a strong squad.

Gulliver-Brown is a mate of fellow South African Shane Gillham, back after a season rocked by injury in 2022.

“It’s like having a new player in the side,” Douche said of Gillham’s return. “He’s looking pretty hot.”

Douche is disappointed that there will be only five teams in 2023, but when pushed to name a key rival for that top spot said it’s a competition that any of the five could win.

“All five are close and that’s what will make it a tough year,” he said.

“It will be interesting to see where we all stand after four or five games.”

As for style of play, nothing’s changed, with Douche comfortable he can build on last year’s success.

“It will be interesting to see how the boys gel, but I’m confident,” he said.

“We’ll play a similar style, make a few minor changes based on what we saw from last year and I’m hoping we can get off to a good start.”