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After a sloppy first half from both teams, the Wests Tigers have played near perfect wet weather football to beat the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles by 20-6 at Leichhardt Oval.
The Tigers dominated possession in the second half and this finally told with 3 tries.
For Manly, they struggled to make an impact in the second half and Des Hasler has plenty of work in front of him this week.
Wests Tigers 20
Manly Sea Eagles 6
Round 1 of the NRL season continues this evening as the Wests Tigers take on the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 5:30pm (AEDT).
The Tigers went close to the NRL finals last year, finishing ninth with a 12-12 record. They have suffered their share of off-season upheaval, with coach Ivan Cleary heading to Penrith. However, the appointment of premiership-winning manager Michael Maguire is a win for the club.
Unfortunately, the Tigers’ injury list is already lengthy, with captain Moses Mbye and David Nofolauma both out. Chris Lawrence broke his jaw in a trial and will also miss the first part of the season.
Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks will start in the halves for the Tigers with Josh Reynolds listed as 18th man. New recruits Robert Jennings, Ryan Matterson and Paul Momirovski will all start for the Tigers, and Thomas Mikaele will make his debut from the bench.
After a disappointing season in 2018, Manly fans will be hoping for a resurgence this season with coach Des Hasler returning to the club.
While the Manly forward pack are well experienced, the backline is anything but. Kane Elgey will make his debut for the Sea Eagles, partnering Daly Cherry-Evans in the halves.
Fellow debutant Reuben Garrick will start on the wing while Brendan Elliott replaces the injured Tom Trbojevic at the back. While there is some talk that Trbojevic will play, the more likely alternative is that his injured hamstring will keep him out for another week or two. The stood-down Dylan Walker will also miss this match.
The Sea Eagles look to just have the edge in the forwards but the absences of Tom Trbojevic and Walker removes a lot of attacking flair and puts plenty of pressure on Manly’s new halves combination.
The Tigers love playing at Leichhardt Oval, and Benji Marshall and Luke Brooks will be primed for a big start to the season.
I’m tipping a close game where the Tigers just get home.
Wests Tigers by 4
Kick-off: 5:30pm (AEDT)
Venue: Leichhardt Oval
TV: Fox League
Online: Kayo, NRL Live, Foxtel app or Foxtel now
Betting: Tigers $1.65, Sea Eagles $2.20
1. Corey Thompson 2. Mahe Fonua 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Esan Marsters 5. Robert Jennings 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Ben Matulino 9. Robbie Farah 10. Alex Twal 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Luke Garner 13. Elijah Taylor
Interchange: 14. Russell Packer 15. Thomas Mikaele 16. Josh Aloiai 17. Michael Chee-Kam
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Brendan Elliot 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Bradley Parker 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kane Elgey 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14. Trent Hodkinson 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Kelepi Tanginoa 17. Toafofoa Sipley