Date: Saturday 4th April
Venue: Lavington Sports Ground, Albury
Manly Sea Eagles
1. Brett Stewart, 2. Cheyse Blair, 3. Brayden Wiliame, 4. Steve Matai, 5. Peta Hiku, 6. Kieran Foran, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Luke Burgess, 9. Matt Ballin, 10. Willie Mason, 11. Jamie Buhrer, 12. Tom Symonds, 13. Dunamis Lui, 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 15. Jake Trbojevic, 16. Justin Horo, 17. Ligi Sao, 18. James Hasson
1. Jack Wighton 2. Edrick Lee 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Jeremy Hawkins 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Blake Austin 7. Sam Williams 8. Josh Papalii 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dane Tilse 11. Jarrad Kennedy 12. Iosia Soliola 13. Shaun Fensom, 14. Glen Buttriss, 15. Frank-Paul Nuuausala, 16. Paul Vaughan, 17. Mark Nicholls
Last 10 Meetings
Sea Eagles 54-18 Raiders – April 27th 2014
Raiders 22-36 Sea Eagles – August 25th 2013
Sea Eagles 16-10 Raiders – May 25th 2013
Sea Eagles 18-12 Raiders – May 6th 2012
Sea Eagles 20-0 Raiders – May 9th 2011
Sea Eagles 22-24 Raiders – July 10th 2010
Sea Eagles 20-14 Raiders – June 21st 2009
Raiders 18-31 Sea Eagles – May 30th 2008
Raiders 30-46 Sea Eagles – May 6th 2007
Sea Eagles 32-6 Raiders – March 17th 2007
Manly Sea Eagles and Canberra Raiders have had a poor start to the year, with both sides picking up just one win in their first four games of the NRL season.
With a first four of Eels, Storm, Bulldogs and Dragons though it is a little less shocking that Manly only have two competition points at this stage.
The Raiders though have been tipped to finish outside the top eight and have struggled so far this season, most recently in their Monday Night Football clash with Sydney Roosters where they lost heavily 34-6.
The Sea Eagles were defeated by St George in their last outing, with the Dragons taking a slender 12-4 victory to heap more misery on Manly’s poor start to the year.
If they were going to bounce back against anyone though it would be a Canberra side who they have defeated nine times in their last 10 meetings.
Last time out Peta Hiku helped himself to four tries in a 54-18 hammering of the Green Machine with their last defeat in this fixture coming in 2010.
Canberra are set to hand a debut to Sam Williams in the halves in the absence of Mitchell Cornish as the hosts are missing skipper Jamie Lyon with Steve Matai and Brayden Wiliame set to start in the centres.
It will be interesting to see how Williams copes on debut as he is given the task of leading his side around the field against one of the best sevens in the game in Daly Cherry-Evans.
Hooker Matt Ballin has been at the heart of the Sea Eagles’ pack for the best part of a decade and he will be only the third number nine to reach 200 appearances for the club when he runs out on Saturday.
The forward packs of both sides will be crucial in this one as Luke Burgess, Willie Mason, and Jamie Buhrer go up against Josh Papalii, Dane Tilse and Iosia Soliola, so we can expect some fireworks in the middle.
A win for either side could be the boost they need to get some momentum in the season and push their way up the ladder however, it will be a tough evening for the side who come out of it with a 1-4 record after five rounds.
Prediction: Manly have had a tough start to the season and have come close against all of their opponents, bar the Eels in round one, so they are not far away from putting a string of wins together. Canberra have had some tough match ups too but their record against the Sea Eagles is terrible. My SuperBru prediction is Manly by 14.
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