Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
One way traffic ahead in Auckland.
Manly under Des Hasler are a new beast. Well, OK, maybe an old beast re-born. They're flying under that radar exactly as 'Dessie' would want, they're just about certs to finish in the top eight, and their attack is humming along very nicely.
Then you've got the enigmatic Warriors. World-beaters one week, awful the next. Sadly, their most recent result is a 46-12 loss to Canberra and one that coach Stephen Kearney was fuming at, if the halftime address broadcast to thousands is anything to go by.
So if we're being realistic, this one should be an open-and-shut case. Manly are a better outfit, are in better form.
The Warriors have kept Chanel Harris-Tavita in the halves after he came on to replace Kodi Nikorima (ankle) midway through the first half of last Friday's match against the Raiders. With Nikorima and Karl Lawton (shoulder) both sidelined, Ligi Sao and Adam Keighran come onto the bench. Manly are unchanged after their 30-6 demolition of the Knights last Saturday.
Last meeting: Round 3 2019 - Sea Eagles 46 Warriors 12
Sadly for the Warriors, their 46-12 loss to the Raiders wasn't the only time they conceded that scoreline this season, with the other occasion being their previous clash with Manly in Round 3. The Sea Eagles had taken the clash to Christchurch. Historically, Manly are dominant in this fixture since the Warriors were admitted in 1995. They've won 24 times from 33 contests.
Who to watch: Two of the NRL's most exciting players wear the #1 jerseys this Friday night. If the Warriors want to spring an upset, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck has to be involved all night, backing up rookie five-eighth Harris-Tavita and veteran halfback Blake Green. He's had flashes of brilliance at points this season but hasn't enjoyed the same consistency of performance he did last season, which took him all the way to the Dally M Medal.
There are few better sights for the Manly faithful than seeing Tom Trbojevic break into the back-field, whether it's at Brookvale or at any NRL ground. Coming off a successful Origin series (albeit in the centres), Trbojevic has enjoyed some wonderful form this season, despite only managing eight appearances to date. It helps that of those eight games, the Sea Eagles have been victorious on all eight occasions.
The favourite: Manly are comfortably backed to win this one.
My tip: While this represents one of those 'banana peel' moments for Manly in their quest to keep in touch with the top four and secure that elusive double chance, it doesn't seem likely the Warriors can spring the upset this time around. Sea Eagles by 18.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 20. Adam Pompey 3. Peta Hiku 2. Gerard Beale 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Blake Green 8. Agnatius Paasi 9. Jazz Tevaga 10. Leeson Ah Mau 11. Adam Blair 12. Isaiah Papalii 13. Lachlan Burr 14. Adam Keighran 15. Sam Lisone 16. Bunty Afoa 17. Ligi Sao
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Manase Fainu 15. Corey Waddell 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka
Referees: Ben Cummins, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Tim Roby, Kasey Badger; Video Referees: Henry Perenara, Bryan Norrie;