The Roosters have won four games to start the season after a solid win against the Rabbitohs last Thursday, while Manly have recorded two straight 20+ point wins to sit 6th on the ladder heading into round 5. Both teams come into this match with a lot of promise.
LAST TIME OUT
The Roosters took on their old foes last Thursday, in what was a very lopsided match and ended up a 20-6 victory for Trent Robinson’s men. The Bunnies lost three key players to suspension after their win over the Knights, and aside from Coach Maguire’s positivity, they simply could not compete. The Roosters led 12-0 after 14 minutes and the Bunnies continued to make uncharacteristic mistakes, and looked soft on defence. A halftime inspirational speech from Captain Sam Burgess lifted Souths to score first in the second half and bring the scores to 14-6. The Pearce/Keary combo was slick though, and their kicking game was far beyond what Reynolds and Walker produced. The Roosters look primed for a top four finish if they can continue their great form.
The Sea Eagles built on a surprise win over the Cowboys in Townsville in round 3, with a huge 36-0 win over the Bulldogs at Lottoland on Saturday. Daly Cherry-Evans starred for Manly where the forwards set the platform for a high-class backline to finish off sets. Cherry-Evans assisted in five of the Eagles seven tries total, and finished with 3 line break assists in a real captain’s performance. The Bulldogs had no attack going at all, and their backline looked clueless and confused. The errors mounted up on them, and their lack of physicality in the middle meant they had nothing to work with. Curtis Sironen continues to look good in the second row after being dropped by Wests and the young Brian Kelly scored a double playing in the centres. Trent Barrett finally has something to feel good about, and his hard coaching journey so far may have a a bright side looming.
Both Mitchell Pearce and Daly Cherry-Evans have been instrumental in their team’s successes in 2017.
After a rocky 2016, Pearce has regained his right to the NSW No. 7 jersey with his work so far this season. His partnership with Keary looks something of magic, and his kicking game, being one of the best in the competition, will be important for the Roosters moving forward. Since his 40/20 against the Cowboys two weeks ago, Cherry-Evans has been near perfect for the Sea Eagles. Manly’s 36-0 win over the Dogs last Saturday was highlighted by Cherry-Evans vast skillset, in particular his running and kicking game. His short kicking was on point in assisting three of the seven tries, while showing off his short passing for the other two assists.
Both men will be the go-to players to create great chances, though Pearce may have the edge with an inform Keary to support him.
I do not think the Sea Eagles would struggle much heading into this season. They have added great players in the last two years, and based off Barrett’s great leadership shown in his playing days, it is only a matter of time until they manage to string together some great wins. The Roosters though have done the same, where they have correctly filled the holes in their side from last year – a closer game than initially expected. Roosters by 6
Roosters: 1. Michael Gordon 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend 10. Dylan Napa 11. Boyd Cordner 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Aidan Guerra 14. Isaac Liu 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Ryan Matterson 17. Connor Watson 18. Paul Carter 19. Chris Smith 20. Blake Ferguson 21. Kane Evans
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 15. Jackson Hastings 16. Nate Myles 17. Addin Fonua-Blake 18. Shaun Lane 20. Matthew Wright 21. Jarrad Kennedy 22. Lloyd Perrett