Sea Eagles v Knights preview

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Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights Sunday 4:05pm at 4 Pines Park, Brookvale / Cammeraygal

Both sides continue to battle for a top eight position whilst they are missing many key players due to Origin Game III camp. 

In a golden point thriller last week, Manly came away with their eighth win of the season with Daly Cherry-Evans kicking a field goal in the 83rd minute, after he missed an attempt in the 77th minute, along with the Cowboys missing their five field goal attempts. This leaves the Sea Eagles in seventh position, sitting lonesome on 21 points. 

With Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic in Origin camp, Jamie Humphreys and Karl Lawton take their places respective. Tolu Koula is facing a stint on the sidelines, so Tom Trbojevic shifts to fullback, with Tommy Talau moving to the centre and Lehi Hopoate on the wing. Corey Waddell, Gordon Chan Kum Tong, and Clayton Faulalo join the bench, whilst Nathan Brown takes Ben Trbojevic's place who will miss the match due to a head knock. 

The Knights managed to keep the Raiders from getting the win last week, winning 16-12 which marks their eighth win of the season, and knocking on the door of the top eight again, sitting in ninth position. Last week also saw the return of Kalyn Ponga who spent an extended period on the sidelines due to a foot injury. 

The backline sees some changes due to Kalyn Ponga, Dane Gagai and Bradman Best all on Origin duties, whilst Enari Tuala is sidelined with a calf injury. This sees Fletcher Sharpe as fullback, Krystian Mamapalangi on the wings and Dylan Lucas and Thomas Cant joining the squad as the centres. Phoenix Crossland also returns from concussions, whilst Adam Elliot comes into the lock position and Mat Croker drops to the bench. 

The odds are evenly stacked for these two teams, with Manly having won five from six games at 4 Pines Park, whilst the Knights have won four of their last five games away from home. These two sides have met 59 times, with Manly holding the advantage with 35-23 wins, however the last time they met the Knights won and the game prior to that they drew, so it really is anyone's game when looking at the stats.

Last meeting: Round 13 2023 - Knights 28 Sea Eagles 18

Who to watch: After returning to the side as a centre last week, Tom Trbojevic is playing his first game at fullback since Round 10, and without Cherry-Evans, Trbojevic will need to stand up and play at his best. During his 11 games so far this year, Trbojevic has scored seven tries, whilst making eight try assists and nine line breaks. 

With many of the senior, experienced Knights players not playing this week, Jackson Hastings will have to step up and lead the spine, with both Sharpe and Pryce playing a combined six games in their collective careers. Hastings has featured in 14/16 Knights games this year, scoring three tries whilst also making ten try assists and eleven line break assists.

FAVOURITE: Manly are favoured to get another win for the season. 

MY TIP: The depths of both teams will be tested; however the Manly side feels just slightly stronger and more experienced than the Knights side and I think that might just get them over the line, in what I believe will be a tight back-and-forth game. Manly by 4.

1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Tommy Talau 4. Reuben Garrick 5. Lehi Hopoate 6. Luke Brooks 7. Jamie Humphreys 8. Toafofoa Sipley 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Karl Lawton 13. Nathan Brown 14. Clayton Faulalo 15. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 16. Ethan Bullemor 18. Caleb Navale 21. Ben Condon

1. Fletcher Sharpe 2. Krystian Mapapalangi 3. Dylan Lucas 4. Thomas Cant 5. Greg Marzhew 6. Will Pryce 7. Jackson Hastings 8. Daniel Saifiti 9. Phoenix Crossland 10. Leo Thompson 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Kai Pearce-Paul 13. Adam Elliott 14. Jayden Brailey 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Brodie Jones 17. Mathew Croker 18. Jack Hetherington

Referees: Grant Atkins; Sideline Officials: David Munro, Chris Sutton; Video Referees: Wyatt Raymond;

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