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Round 8 of the NRL season continues this as the Manly Sea Eagles host the Canterbury Bulldogs at Lottoland. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5:30pm (AEST).
A quick glance at the ladder shows this is 6th vs 16th. It should be a bit of a no-brainer, right? Wrong. There will be very little to separate these sides in this clash.
The Sea Eagles have been the surprise packets so far this season. With four wins and three losses under their belt, Manly were very good in beating the Canberra Raiders last weekend. With wins over the Rabbitohs and Raiders at Lottoland in recent times, Des Hasler is developing a bit of the old fortress Brookie.
Manly’s front row of Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake have been generating plenty of yards for this Sea Eagles pack, creating some room for a fairly inexperienced backline.
They have been able to win without Tom Trbojevic, which is impressive. Now they will have to win without Daly Cherry-Evans as well, who sustained an ankle injury against the Raiders.
The half is replaced by Kane Elgey, who will partner Lachlan Croker in the halves, although talk is that Curtis Sironen may line up there, given Elgey was dropped just last week. A calf injury has forced Jorge Taufua out, replaced by Abbis Miski. Addin Fonua-Blake returns from suspension, relegating Toafofoa Sipley to the bench.
It’s hard to get a read on the Canterbury Bulldogs this season. Diabolical early, wins against the Tigers, a close call against the Storm and a further win against the Cowboys suggest that they are now on the improve.
Corey Harawira-Naera was the stand out last weekend, scoring 2 tries, running 149 metres and making 43 tackles in a supreme effort.
Canterbury’s front row of Aiden Tolman and Ofahiki Ogden have done a good job in recent weeks against the Rabbitohs and Cowboys. Their matchup against Manly’s front row will go a long way to deciding the winner.
The Bulldogs have the luxury of an unchanged starting line up, with Dylan Napa and Kieran Foran both named in the reserves list.
This is a tough one to pick, with both sides fielding inexperienced halves. DCE will be missed but, at home, the Sea Eagles pack will be a little too good.
Manly Sea Eagles by 4.
Preview written by David Holden.
Scott’s tip: Bulldogs by 8.
When: 5:30pm AEST
TV: Fox League
Online: NRL Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel now
Betting: Manly Warringah Sea Eagles: $1.70, Canterbury Bulldogs $2.15
Manly Sea Eagles
1. Brendan Elliott 2. Abbas Miski 3. Moses Suli 4. Brad Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Kane Elgey 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic.
Interchange: 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Corey Waddell 17. Toafofoa Sipley.
1. Nick Meaney 2. Jayden Okunbor 3. Kerrod Holland 4. Will Hopoate 5. Reimis Smith 6. Jack Cogger 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Josh Jackson 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Rhyse Martin.
Interchange: 14. Fa’amanu Brown 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Adam Elliot 17. Michael Lichaa.