Date: Friday July 4
Venue: ANZ Stadium
Bulldogs: Mitch Brown, Corey Thompson, Krisnan Inu, Timoteo Lafai, Drury Low, Josh Jackson, Michael Ennis, Aiden Tolman, Damien Cook, James Graham, Greg Eastwood, Tony Williams, Dale Finucane. Interchange: Sam Kasiano, Tim Browne, Sam Perrett, Reni Maitua, Pat O’Hanlon
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Jack Littlejohn, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Dunamis Lui. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, James Hasson, Tom Symonds, Jason King
It’s a quick turnaround for the Sea Eagles and Bulldogs who played at a bogged Brookvale Oval just a few weeks ago. Manly were convincing winners that night thanks to an enormous 10 minute burst from a limping Daly Cherry-Evans.
During that last meeting Brett Stewart looked to be back to his best and he has improved on that form since as the Sea Eagles have cruised past the Sharks and had a tough fought win against the Roosters. Canterbury on the other hand have dropped a game to the Eels and recorded a so-so win against the hapless Raiders.
As is customary at this time of year both sides will be affected by Origin and injury. Canterbury appear to suffering more than Manly though if their halves are anything to go by, a team lead around the park by Josh Jackson and Michael Ennis will not put fear in anybody let alone an experienced Sea Eagles side.
There will be some players out to prove something in this match with Brenton Lawrence and Jorge Taufua missing out on Origin debuts and Tony Williams failing to get a recall for New South Wales, missing out to Boyd Cordner. Jason King and James Graham will come together at some point, the two hard men seem to take it upon themselves to lead their sides in the aggression stakes and will relish the opportunity to get one over each other.
Des Hasler will have his side enthusiastic for this match but the execution probably won’t be there with the personnel they are fielding, they’ll need to rely on their defence to turn this game into a low scoring grind if they hope to win. But even if they were to succeed Manly are well versed in tough, low scoring rugby league so it would be a surprise if they lost, whichever way this game turns.
Sea Eagles 30 Bulldogs 10
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