It would be fair to assume that the Tigers are taking on the Sea Eagles at the wrong time. Not because of anything the Tigers themselves have done, but because of events that occurred last week against Manly on their visit to Penrith. Let’s just say, it didn’t exactly go to plan.

LAST TIME OUT

At the halftime break against the Panthers, the Manly stats included eight penalties against them, half a dozen fuses had blown in Trent Barrett’s head in the coaches box and Daly Cherry-Evans was hitting 0 from 3 in his on-field debate series against referee Henry Perenara. Other, more mainstream stats, were all heavily against Manly as you would expect. Yet, they were only eight points adrift from the Panthers at the break. The second half became a dour affair in that the Sea Eagles looked to be treading on eggshells with the threat of a sin bin hanging over their head, and the Panthers continued to struggle to take advantage of the many opportunities that came their way. The damage had all been made in the first half though. Manly just didn’t know how to go about things in the second forty, without hearing the sound of Perenara’s whistle once again.

The Tigers enjoyed last week off thanks to the bye, but in the round preceding, they embarrassed the Knights in Newcastle. Coming into the game, both sides needed the win and it even looked like the home team might be about to show the NRL that things were starting to come together. Unfortunately for the Knights, the Tigers had other ideas. The young Tigers started the game on fire running out to a 20-0 halftime score that could have easily been 30-0. Halfback Luke Brooks was a star on the day as was boom rookie Moses Suli down the left edge. He terrorized the Knights right side defence all afternoon. It was the Tigers first win in eight attempts, but the best part was how emphatic it was.

 

KEY BATTLE

No, it won’t be DCE against referee Gerrard Sutton, but DCE will be on one side of the battle.

The Manly captain has really silenced his critics in 2017 and you get the feeling he isn’t done just yet, especially after being knocked back by the Queensland selectors. He’ll still feel that he has a few heads to turn yet. Another high-quality performance against the Tigers won’t hurt. But he, as will his teammates, will firstly be looking to add another notch in the “win” column before enjoying any personal accolades. After a horror show in Penrith last week, Cherry-Evans will no doubt be emphasising the need to heed what the officials have to say and how they are interpreting the game. His plate will be a full one come game time, but he is showing that he is more than up to the responsibility.

Tigers halfback Luke Brooks found a bit of the spark that has been missing against the lacklustre Knights two weeks ago. The Tigers number 7 needs to back that performance up with another dominant display here. Yes, the defence against him will be made of much sterner stuff, but that shouldn’t stop him from implementing his attacking mindset here. If the Tigers are to be a chance, he needs to repeat his efforts. It can’t be said any plainer than that. The effect of a running halfback on opposing defences cannot be underestimated. It is a trademark of all great halves. He has the weapons, he just has to have the conviction to use them. His teammates would definitely appreciate it, especially against a difficult foe, such as the Sea Eagles.

 

PREDICTION

Manly will be all business in this game after failing to bring home the two competition points from Penrith. Despite coach Trent Barrett having a pow-wow with referees boss Tony Archer during the week, the Sea Eagles would still be seething about what happened. You get the feeling that they will take their frustrations out on the Wests Tigers here. You could also argue that the bye was at the worst time for the Tigers as any momentum they could have used from their one-sided win over Newcastle has ebbed away. The Sea Eagles aren’t the Knights, and Perenara is off cooling his heels somewhere other than Brookvale this weekend. It all adds up to a Sea Eagles victory.

Sea Eagles by 14

 

SQUADS

Sea Eagles v Tigers, Sunday 16 July, 2pm at Lottoland

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matthew Wright 3. Dylan Walker 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans (c) 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Api Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14. Cameron Cullen 15. Lloyd Perrett 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Addin Fonua-Blake 18. Jarrad Kennedy 19. Jonathan Wright 20. Brad Parker 21. Jackson Hastings

Tigers: 1. James Tedesco 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Esan Marsters 4. Moses Suli 5. Kevin Naiqama 6. Tuimoala Lolohea 7. Luke Brooks 8. Aaron Woods (c) 9. Jacob Liddle 10. Ava Seumanufagai 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Sauaso Sue 13. Elijah Taylor Interchange: 14. Matt Eisenhuth 15. Joel Edwards 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Matt McIlwrick 18. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 19. Jack Littlejohn 20. Kyle Lovett 21. Alex Twal