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Wynnum Manly Seagulls: Cup gains and losses for 2024

Most Hostplus Cup fans either know Bryce Donovan as a Redcliffe Dolphins man or a Norths Devils man.

Ever since the crafty playmaker moved north from New South Wales in 2018 - signing at the time with Redcliffe – he’s bounced between the two clubs, winning a premiership with the Dolphins in his first year in the competition and narrowly missing out on a second title in 2022, ironically losing to the Devils.

But in 2024, fans will have to get used to Donovan wearing brand new colours.

After feeling like he performed below his best in 2023 – with the Devils missing the finals after two straight premierships – the 29-year-old is ready for a fresh start with Wynnum Manly Seagulls.

“As it’s pretty well-documented by myself, I’ve loved to switch between Norths and Redcliffe for my first five or so years here,” Donovan said.

“This is a bit of change of scenery. I had a meeting with (Wynnum Manly coach Mat) Heady not long after the offseason and it’s an opportunity and a change I couldn’t have said no to.

“I know I still have a lot left in the tank footy-wise.

“I probably didn’t have my best year last year so it’s about getting out of my comfort zone and pushing myself to be the player I know I’m capable of being.

“A fresh start may be what I needed.”

Bryce Donovan. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Bryce Donovan. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Donovan said he was the one who reached out to Head in the first place, just to see what his options were.

As soon as the pair realised there was mutual interest in the five-eighth making the switch, it was a no-brainer.

It was tough for him to leave Norths again – having left once before in 2022 – but he knew it was the best thing to do for himself.

“It definitely wasn’t an easy thing to do, to leave Norths,” Donovan said.

“Especially calling the coach (Dave Elliott) and Troy (Rovelli) the CEO to let them know I was leaving. Both times I left was a bit hard.

“It’s always been a really good club that I’ll always hold close to my heart. I made a lot of lifelong friends there and some pretty cool memories so I’ll always have a soft spot for them.

“This year, I want to play a lot better than what I did last year. I didn’t have the year I wanted, so this year the goal is to get back to playing the footy I am capable of playing.

“It’s not really one real key thing (that went wrong in 2023) but the main denominator is, without knowing it at the time, I maybe put a bit too much pressure on myself.

“Going back to Norths, I really wanted to be part of the threepeat (of premierships) and you don’t want to talk about it too much but you do get caught up in it a little bit.

“At the time, I didn’t realise I was putting unnecessary pressure on myself and looking back on it now, I definitely did in certain situations so I’ve learnt to have a bit more fun and smile a bit more.”

Donovan is not the only Norths player who has joined Wynnum Manly for 2024, with outside backs Tony Tumusa, Jonathon Reuben and Connor Broadhurst signing up.

Tony Tumusa. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL
Tony Tumusa. Photo: Rikki-Lee Arnold/QRL

Other new signings include Souths Logan’s Cruise Ten, Northern Pride’s Justin Frain and Ipswich’s Zac Chong-Nee, in a strong haul for the Seagulls.

Donovan said he had immediately settled in and could see a lot of potential within the squad.

“I certainly don’t feel like the new kid, which I guess is a good thing and just shows how close the club is,” he said.

“They’re a great bunch of lads and everyone has been ripping in really hard and everyone wants to win.

“It definitely helps (having Tumusa, Reuben and Broadhurst), especially day one when you walk in and don’t know anyone. You can go say hello to those boys.

“There were a few times there last year where we all could have been a bit better. I think those three had a better year than I did. But for all of us, it was something different to try and I think it was opportunities that popped up that they couldn’t say no to.

“I know what I get out of those guys so come game day, I know what they’re going to turn up and do.

“You can tell there’s something special here. I’m just taking it as if I’m starting from scratch again and to just have fun with it and not be as serious in certain moments.”

Wynnum Manly Seagulls 2024 gains and losses


Connor Broadhurst (Norths Devils), Zac Chong-Nee (Ipswich Jets), JJ Clarkson (Canberra Raiders), Bryce Donovan (Norths Devils), Kurt Falls (Penrith Panthers), Justin Frain (Northern Pride), Zac Hetherington (Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs), Jonathon Reuben (Norths Devils), Garrett Smith (Mackay Cutters), Cruise Ten (Souths Logan Magpies), Tony Tumusa (Norths Devils)


Blake Anders (Brisbane Tigers), Caius Faatili (Sunshine Coast Falcons), Kyle Foxwell (Ipswich Jets), Gideon Gela-Mosby (released), Bailey Hartwig (released), Brendan O’Hagan (released), John Radel (Mackay Cutters), Will Samuel (released), Josh Simm (UK Super League).

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Queensland Rugby League respects and honours the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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