Ahead of Friday's #NRL game between Penrith Panthers and Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs, writer Rob C...
58 mins ago
Manly look to keep Top Four hopes alive against dreadful Dogs
The Bulldogs have been in terrible form as of late, having won just two of their past twelve games. In those twelve games, Canterbury have averaged just 11.7 points per game. As a result, Sunday afternoon's clash with Manly is the perfect chance for Des Hasler's men to restore pride and faith within its irritated fan base. Their chances of doing that, however, were dealt a signficant blow with five-eighth Josh Reynolds and prop Sam Kasiano ruled out of Sunday's game. Therefore, Chase Stanley moves to halfback with Matt Frawley taking Reynolds' place in the No. 6 jersey. Meanwhile, Francis Tualau plays just his six first grade game off the bench in the place of Kasiano.
Conversely, the Sea Eagles are not short of motivation on Sunday afternoon with their possible spot in the Top Four under risk given last week's last-gasp 30-26 defeat at the hands of the Tigers. In addition, given the congested nature of the latter half of the Top Eight, a loss on Sunday could even see Manly slip out of the Top Eight all together. However, given the Bulldogs' attack woes, the Sea Eagles will be confident of victory given that they rank third in the competition when it comes to points scored. Unfortunately, the Sea Eagles will have to bounce back without winger Brad Parker, who was ruled out for the year earlier this week with a knee injury. Consequently, Brian Kelly returns to the side in Parker's place.
Last meeting: Round 4 2017 - Sea Eagles 36 Bulldogs 0
Manly belted the Dogs 36-0 in their Round 4 encounter at Lottoland.
Who to watch: If the Bulldogs are any hope of achieving an unlikely victory on Sunday it is necessary that stand-in five-eighth Matt Frawley provides the creative spark for his side's spluttering attack. Frawley has played for over 70 minutes in nine games this year and only has one try-assist to his name from those outings. With Kieran Foran set to join the Canterbury club next year it is important that Frawley steps up this weekend in order to not only lead his team to victory, but to aslo prove himself to coach Des Hasler.
For the Sea Eagles, Daly Cherry-Evans was on track for a stellar performance last weekend before the Tigers dominated the second half. Yet, one only has to look back to his input against the Bulldogs in their Round 4 clash to understand the impact that the Manly halfback can have. In that game, Cherry-Evans set up five tries in what was arguably his most impressive game of the 2017 season. Look out for ‘DCE' to teach the Dogs a thing or two about attacking football on Sunday afternoon.
The favourite: Despite their slip up last week, Manly are well backed to consolidate their spot within the Top Eight this week with a win.
My tip: If Manly are legitimate premiership contenders, they should be simply too good in attack for a disappointing Dogs side with little to play for other than pride. Sea Eagles by 22
1. William Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Brenko Lee 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Matt Frawley 9. Moses Mbye 8. Aiden Tolman 17. Michael Lichaa 10. James Graham 11. Josh Jackson 12. Adam Elliot 13. David Klemmer 14. Francis Tualau 15. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 16. Danny Fualalo 7. Chase Stanley
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matthew Wright 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 16. Darcy Lussick 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Lloyd Perrett 8. Brenton Lawrence 17. Addin Fonua-blake
Referees: Ben Cummins, Gavin Badger; Sideline Officials: Brett Suttor, Belinda Sleeman; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;