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NRL match preview: New Zealand Warriors vs Manly Sea Eagles

Date: Sunday July 27
Venue: Mount Smart Stadium
Kick-off: 4pm (local)


Warriors: Sam Tomkins, Ngani Laumape, Konrad Hurrell, Dane Nielsen, Manu Vatuvei, Chad Townsend, Shaun Johnson, Jacob Lillyman, Nathan Friend, Suaia Matagi, Ben Henry, Simon Mannering, Sebastine Ikahihifo. Interchange: Feleti Mateo, Ben Matulino, Jayson Bukuya, Thomas Leuluai, Sam Rapira

Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Anthony Watmough, Jamie Buhrer, Tom Symonds. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, Dunamis Lui, James Hasson, Jason King


This could be a danger game for the Sea Eagles who are the form team of the competition right now. Inconsistency has been a part of their season so far and a long trip across the ditch against a confident Warriors team could be their undoing if they do not get their minds on the match.

That could be difficult as the Sea Eagles have been the focus of media speculation all week for all the wrong reasons. Steve Matai has confirmed over the last few weeks he had been seeking a release to join the Warriors, Brett Stewart and Anthony Watmough were also speculated to be wanting out, a claim denied by Manly GM David Perry.

The Warriors have won five in a row at home now and have looked in formidable try scoring form in those games. The battle between the big, fast, skilled Warriors attack and the resolute and desperate Sea Eagles defence should make for an exciting game.

If the Warriors can out enthuse Manly from the start of both halves they have a great chance of causing an upset. Manly have shown a tendency to drop off in games that aren’t deemed “blockbusters”, it’s happened too many times this season to not think it could happen again here.

The most exciting part of this game could be watching Steve Matai and Konrad Hurrell face off. Both Kiwis are in fantastic form and pride themselves on their powerful performances, however Hurrell is yet to be cleared from a concussion he suffered last week and Matai sustained a cork to his knee, although coach Geoff Toovey said he should be fine to take the field this week.

The Sea Eagles are usually professional enough to put off field issues behind them and perform well, but an upset by the Warriors would not be a shock considering the circumstances of the week.


Sea Eagles by 2

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