Sea Eagles v Titans preview

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Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Gold Coast Titans Saturday 5:30pm at 4 Pines Park, Brookvale

Titans return to haunt Manly at Brookvale

Manly return home to 4 Pines Park for just the second time in six rounds.

After recent road trips to Mudgee and Newcastle, of all the sides, the Titans would be last on Des Hasler's invite list.

Manly hold the upper hand with victories in three of the past four contests, including two thumping wins last season. The most recent, an astonishing 56-24 hiding that saw the Sea Eagles light up Cbus Super Stadium with 48 unanswered second half points.

But it's at Brookvale where the Titans have proven to be the Sea Eagles' kryptonite.

Ever since funky winger Kevin Gordon scored a double in 2010, the boys from the Sunset Strip have largely been an immovable force, finishing in front on five of six occasions.

And with a combined tally of 120 points from their past three visits, the Titans have done everything but plant the club flag.

This week, the return of centre Brian Kelly adds spark to an outfit that stormed home last Saturday to give premiership contenders Parramatta an almighty fright.

But with their three defeats this season coming at a combined aggregate of just 12 points, if Justin Holbrook had one wish, it would be for sustained periods of concentration.

For Manly, last week's comprehensive win over Newcastle in the absence of Tom Trbojevic will have done wonders for their confidence.

Although more predictable with ball in hand, Daly Cherry-Evans will be key given five of Manly's past nine tries have come from kicks.

This week they'll miss Morgan Harper with rookie Tolutau Koula named to replace the COVID-stricken centre.

And with tough games against the Sharks and Rabbitohs to follow, a fourth straight win for Manly would ease the burden caused by Turbo's troublesome knee.

While for the Titans, it's all about consistency. Currently alternating in a win-loss cycle, this week points to a much needed win that would leave them well placed to buck the trend against the Cowboys the following week.

Last meeting: Round 15 2021 - Titans 24 Sea Eagles 56

Who to watch: He didn't feature in the Dally M points against Newcastle, but Dylan Walker should have. With a deft pass and a sneaky grubber, the bulked up benchie laid on two tries to make sure the Knights left empty handed.

Add to that his 120m through centre field, and there's little else the underrated jack of all trades could have crammed into his 46 minutes on the park.

If AJ Brimson was in charge of the draw, Brookvale would be on the Titans' list every fortnight. The former fullback has five tries to his name against the Sea Eagles, all at the Pittwater Road venue - in just three appearances.

Still finding his feet in the No.6 jumper, the Origin star has only one try and a single line break to show for his efforts in 2022, but it's his try assists from the boot that will have Des Hasler flapping like a stranded catfish at low tide.

The favourite: Buyer beware. Manly are the favourite in this one, just as they have been in all their defeats to the Gold Coast on home turf.

My tip: After a slow start against quality opposition, Manly have steadily improved against three middle of the road sides. The Titans fall into that basket, but with two defeats by a converted try or less against the high flying Eels, they're a real danger. In what could be another shoot out, look for Cherry-Evans to kick the Titans curse. Sea Eagles by 1.

1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 20. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 19. Ben Trbojevic

1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Phillip Sami 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Greg Marzhew 6. AJ Brimson 7. Toby Sexton 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Erin Clark 10. Isaac Liu 11. David Fifita 12. Beau Fermor 13. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 14. Will Smith 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Jarrod Wallace 18. Paul Turner

Referees: Todd Smith; Sideline Officials: Belinda Sharpe, Nick Beashel; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy;

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