Preview: Manly Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders

The mdi-way point of the season is here, and the Manly Sea Eagles will host the Canberra Raiders at Lottoland on Sunday afternoon. Both sides have had the same win-loss rate in the last ten games, and are in the bottom half of the top eight. It will be a strong match from both sides, but who will walk away as winners?

Last Time Out

The Manly Sea Eagles had a bye for Round 12, a well deserved break after their victory over the Gold Coast Titans in Queensland on the Saturday evening of the previous round. They starred, scoring five tries as opposed to the Titans’ two. The penalties were relatively even, and the same with the errors made by both sides. However, Manly’s dominance in attack was where they won the game, making fifteen offloads, six line breaks, all of which built up the pressure that allowed them to gain momentum and post plenty of points on the scoreboard, securing the win in Queensland. Every player made significant contributions to the game, and to the score. It was a strong Manly outfit who were dominant in every aspect, and was impressive to watch. However, they are still without young fullback Tom Trbojevic, who they lost in their defeat over the Brisbane Broncos the weekend before. While Matthew Wright contributed to the success of Manly, Trbojevic was missed, and will undoubtedly be missed during the fight against Canberra on Sunday afternoon.

The Canberra Raiders were dominant in their performance against the Sydney Roosters last weekend, when they won 24 points to 16 at GIO Stadium to complete Round 12. Both their strong efforts in defence and attack contributed significantly to their success, making only eight errors, and having an evident dominance in all aspects of attack, allowing them to build pressure and to gain momentum, ultimately leading to the gain of two competition points. Captain Jarrod Croker was once again a stand out, with an attacking performance of paramount importance to the success of the side. The 81% completion rate was far superior to the 65% from their opposition, who fell behind in attacking aspects, and made double the amount of errors as opposed to the Raiders. However, the Raiders game away a considerable amount of penalties to the Roosters, which proved their discipline needs to be addressed in order for an increase in dominance in their performances.

Key Battle

Cherry-Evans versus Sezer. The two halfbacks have had strong seasons for their club, and have contributed to the wins (and to the losses) of their respective teams. The battle between the two could have a profound contribution to the outcome of the match for the sides. The difference in discipline and in attack will show on the field, making it an interesting and key battle for the match, and could influence how the match plays out.

Prediction

Despite both having similar starts to the season, and without discrediting the capabilities of Trent Barrett and the Manly Sea Eagles, Canberra’s dominance has been carried out through their last few games, and will most likely continue in this match as they look to cement a spot in the top eight. Raiders by 4.

Squads

Manly Sea Eagles

1 Matthew Wright 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. Interchange 14 Lewis Brown 15 Jackson Hastings 16 Nate Myles Jackson Hastings 17 Addin Fonua-Blake 18 Jarrad Kennedy 19 Cameron Cullen 20 Jonathan Wright 22 Lloyd Perrett

Canberra Raiders

1. Jack Wighton, 2. Nick Cotric, 3. Jarrod Croker, 4. Joseph Leilua, 5. Jordan Rapana, 6. Blake Austin, 7. Aidan Sezer, 8. Junior Paulo, 9. Josh Hodgson, 10. Shannon Boyd, 11. Josh Papalii, 12. Elliott Whitehead, 13. Iosia Soliola, 14. Adam Clydsdale, 15. Joseph Tapine, 16. Clay Priest, 17.Dumanis Liu, 18. Scott Sorensen, 19. Royce Hunt, 20. Brent Naden, 21. Lachlan Croker