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After 205 NRL games and 11 seasons at the Tigers, Luke Brooks donned Manly’s maroon-and-white jersey for the first time on Friday.
At his first training session with his new club, Brooks spoke of his excitement at joining Sea Eagles’ stars Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic – and why he hopes his former club, Wests Tigers, could avoid a third successive wooden spoon.
The sight of Brooks in a Manly jumper evoked memories of Robbie Farah parading around in a South Sydney jersey after 14 seasons at the Tigers, of Cooper Cronk in the Roosters’ colours after 14 years at Melbourne and even of the Rabbitohs’ favourite son, Adam Reynolds, when he first donned a Broncos jersey.
At 28, Brooks will call the northern beaches home for the next four years, and for at least two of them he will call Queensland Origin skipper Cherry-Evans’ his halves partner.
But Brooks, who never made the finals once with the Tigers, was not about to criticise his former club, saying he sincerely hoped they could climb off the bottom of the ladder.
“I hope they do well, I wish them all the best,” Brooks said. “I’ve moved on. I have a lot of mates there [at the Tigers], a lot of good people I’ve known for so long, and I honestly hope they do well.
Luke Brooks in Manly colours for the first time.Credit: Christian Nicolussi
“This is all new to me, but it’s very exciting, and I’m looking forward to the season ahead. A bit of a change will be good for me … a new environment will get the best out of me. I was at the Tigers a long time. It gets me out of my comfort zone coming here.”
There have been whispers Brooks had left the $1000 Beefeater barbecue he was gifted by the Tigers at his old club but he insisted he had it in his garage, although it was yet to be fired up.
As for signing with Manly, Brooks said: “There’s so much strike [power], and obviously one of the big reasons I came here was to play with those quality players.
“There’s a lot of speed and big bodies, it will definitely help my game.”
Brooks is expected to be given first shot at the five-eighth position, where his left-foot kicking game will be an asset on the left side of the field.
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