Date: Friday August 22
Venue: Pirtek Stadium
Eels: Jarryd Hayne (c), Semi Radradra, Will Hopoate, Ryan Morgan, Vai Toutai, Corey Norman, Chris Sandow, Tim Mannah (c), Isaac De Gois, Junior Paulo, Kenny Edwards, Tepai Moeroa, Joseph Paulo. Interchange: Peni Terepo, David Gower, Darcy Lussick, Ben Smith
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, Tom Symonds, Jamie Buhrer. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, Justin Horo, James Hasson, Jason King
There should be plenty of feeling in this game after their round 3 match up left Parramatta coach Brad Arthur fuming over the quality of officialdom. He’s maintained that angst all season long and it appears to be rubbing off on his players with Jarryd Hayne this week pulling out the “stop picking on us” line through the week.
There’s plenty of crossover with these two clubs who both entered the competition in 1947 and have battled in finals and grand finals together.
Sea Eagles captain Jamie Lyon walked out on Parramatta in 2004 only to return to the NRL in 2007 with Manly, Parramatta returned serve in 2011 when they signed William Hopoate in anticipation of his return to the NRL this season.
Manly also boast players which Parramatta deemed to be inconsequential in Justion Horo, Jamie Buhrer and Jorge Taufua. While those three have established themselves as important parts of a top of the table side over the last few years Parramatta have been plodding along adding to their burgeoning collection of wooden spoons.
The Eels have a Manly flavour as well with coach Brad Arthur and forward David Gower signing up for 2014 after a one year stopover at Manly. Darcy Lussick also sits on their bench, a player who looked promising at Manly but jumped ship in 2013 for the cash on offer out west and has stagnated ever since.
Manly had a good defensive showing last week against a Titans outfit which didn’t ask too many questions. Of most concern this week will be their attack, Daly Cherry-Evans, Kieran Foran and Brett Stewart have showed glimpses of their best the past few weeks but are nowhere near their mid-season form. Steve Matai has been named to return but could be doubtful to take his place, he has been sorely missed since being chicken winged out of the game by George Burgess early on against South Sydney in round 22.
The Eels are on some sort of roll as they attempt to force their way in to the 8 on the back of Jarryd Hayne’s brilliance as they did in 2009. Hayne will have in impact on this game, it is up to Manly coach Geoff Toovey and his players to minimise the damage. Semi Radradra also gave the Sea Eagles a few headaches with his powerful running and speed in their meeting earlier this season, finding the ground and touch with end of set kicks will be vital for Manly.
Manly should be too strong for a Parramatta side which has now lost two home games in a row after starting the year with 6 consecutive victories on home turf, Manly’s classy backs should have too much for the Eels to contend with.
Sea Eagles 18 Eels 14