2018 PREVIEW 🔍 Perennial underachievers? Our fifteenth preview is here. Andrew Ferguson assesses whe...
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Two of the most potent attacking teams in the NRL do battle on Sunday in what could turn out to be a very entertaining match.
Manly and Canberra have entrenched themselves in the top 8 with some solid performances throughout the season, although Canberra will like to add some consistency to their performances. Manly has been a surprise packet this year after a poor start to the season, Trent Barrett has been able to get the best out of his top players and the other squad members have added great support. With an opportunity to knock off a valued contender in Canberra this weekend, Manly could further move up the ladder with a strong performance.
Canberra pulled off a vital victory over a depleted Sydney Roosters outfit last week in what was a grinding performance. Canberra nearly threw it away but did enough to collect its sixth win of the season. This will be a tricky away trip for the Raiders who will need to hold the football and be efficient in defence if it is to come away with the victory. They are a fantastic team when switched on and can score from anywhere on the field, with a strong forward pack and some durable and classy outside backs Canberra are firming as a dark horse in 2017.
Manly have already beaten Canberra once this year with a good win down in the nations capital. They have a good recent record against Canberra with seven wins in the last ten clashes. The Raiders have won ten times in 26 trips to Brookvale Oval.
Who to watch: With the absence of Tom Trbojevic there is added pressure on manly centre Dylan Walker to add spark out wide. With the ability to cut open defences with his silky footwork, pace and strength Walker could cause Joey Leilua and the Raiders some issues on Sunday.
The aforementioned Joey Leilua will need to be on his toes defensively to help out his side against Manly.
There has always been a question mark on Leilua's defence and decision making and season 2017 hasn't laid those thoughts to bed. Blessed in attack with all the necessary skills, Manly will no doubt try and cover him as best they can. If he can rediscover his from from 2016, could be a tough afternoon for the Sea Eagles.
My tip: Almost too close to call with both teams performing well of late and stacked with talent all over the park. Leaning towards Manly due to the home field advantage. Manly by 1.
1. Matthew Wright 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jackson Hastings 17. Addin Fonua-blake 22. Lloyd Perrett
1. Jack Wighton 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Joseph Leilua 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Aidan Sezer 8. Junior Paulo 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Shannon Boyd 11. Josh Papalii 12. Elliot Whitehead 13. Iosia Soliola 14. Adam Clydsdale 15. Joseph Tapine 16. Clay Priest 17. Dunamis Lui