Sea Eagles v Eels preview

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Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels Saturday 7:35pm at Lottoland

The Eels look to remain top of the ladder as they take on the out of form Sea Eagles.

Returning to Lottoland for just the second time since the resumption of the competition, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles will be looking for vengeance after a controversial forward pass decision prevented them from knocking off the Parramatta Eels in Round 4.

The home side have now lost three on the trot following a disappointing 30 point defeat to the struggling St. George Illawarra Dragons and now find themselves sitting outside the top eight in 10th position.

It's no coincidence that these three loses coincide with injuries to their star fullback Tom Trbojevic and starting five-eighth Dylan Walker as the Sea Eagles have since struggled to attack with any real flow and cohesion.

With both players out till at least Round 14, the Sea Eagles will need to somehow rediscover their attacking prowess if they are any chance of knocking off the competition leaders and if they fail to do so, Manly could see themselves slipping down the ladder.

An already injury ravaged side, the Sea Eagles will be without Morgan Boyle this week which will see youngster Taniela Paseka get his second start in the front row for the season with Corey Waddell joining the bench.

Meanwhile, the Parramatta Eels will aim to continue their golden season with only one loss to date, against the Sydney Roosters.

The Eels are coming off a gritty win against the Newcastle Knights as they continue to hold poll position despite being without star halfback Mitchell Moses for the previous two weeks.

They'll be without Moses again this weekend which hasn't seemed to worry his 20-year-old halves partner in Dylan Brown, who has played some of his best football over the past two weeks and is starting to develop into one of the better five-eighths currently in the NRL.

The form of fullback Clint Gutherson is also something to make note of, who is playing the best football of his career which included a stellar performance in his 100th NRL game against the North Queensland Cowboys.

The Eels have named an unchanged line up from their clash with Newcastle last week.

Last meeting: Round 4 2020 - Eels 19 Sea Eagles 16

Who to watch: As is always the case with Manly, Daly Cherry-Evans will be one to watch as the captain of the Sea Eagles will be looking to bounce back after an uncharacteristic three errors in their loss to the Dragons last week. The star halfback has willed his side to many wins over the course of his career and if they're any chance of beating the Eels on Saturday night then he'll need to be playing his best footy. Cherry-Evans has averaged a career high in run metres this season (76 metres per game) which will play a big factor in his game this weekend as he'll be forced to take on the line due to a lack of attacking options thanks to injuries and suspensions.

Only just nine games into his career with the Parramatta Eels, Ryan Matterson has already established himself as one of the best back rowers in the competition. After a breakout season with the Tigers last year, Matterson has taken no time adjusting to his new side having scored three tries so far this season. The 80 minute back rower has averaged 136 metres and 39 tackles per game to start this season and will be a handful for Manly's defence on the weekend. If the Sea Eagles fail to control Matterson's impact on the game it could get nasty for the home side.

The favourite: The Eels are the favourites to win this clash against the injury ravaged Sea Eagles and for good reason. The competition leaders have only dropped points once this season which came against the defending premiers, the Sydney Roosters.

My tip: If both sides were at full-strength, this would be a much closer affair. But with the Sea Eagles recent form as well as missing some key players I think it'll be quite hard for them to prevent Parramatta from winning this one. The Eels are on top of the competition ladder for a reason. Eels by 14.

1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Sean Keppie 17. Corey Waddell

1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Michael Jennings 4. Waqa Blake 19. George Jennings 6. Dylan Brown 7. Jai Field 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 17. Brad Takairangi 13. Nathan Brown 14. David Gower 15. Stefano Utoikamanu 16. Marata Niukore 21. Andrew Davey

Referees: Ashley Klein; Sideline Officials: Peter Gough, Matt Noyen; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Beau Scott;

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