The Manly Sea Eagles return home to play the Parramatta Eels at Lottloland on Sunday, with both sides looking to pick up their first win of 2018.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Beaten in Golden Point, the Sea Eagles looked the better side but the lack of ball control and penalties allowed the revamped Knights to win with a field goal. Combinations will grow between halves Daly Cherry-Evans and Lachlan Croker but improvement against Parramatta will be crucial.
Parramatta was cruising in round one with a 14-nil lead in the opening 30 mins before a head knock to their halfback Mitch Moses allowed Penrith to score a try before the break. It came undone in the second half when Moses was sin-binned for a professional foul when the scores were level 14-all and Penrith scored five minutes later to run away with the win.
Coach Trent Barrett has made multiple changes to his side with Brad Parker replacing Matthew Wright in the right centre position. The interchange has been tweaked with Lewis Brown and Frank Winterstein making way for Jackson Hastings and Lloyd Perrett.
Parramatta is unchanged.
The Manly side to kick-start their season need to establish their forward pack within the competition. The game against the Knights the likes of Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake were damaging through the middle, however, the edge forwards in Curtis Sironen and new signing Joel Thompson need to assert their line running if the Sea Eagles are to get any momentum against an underrated Eels front line. The back row of Jake Trbojevic, Sironen and Thompson should exploit and be overwhelming the Parramatta team in attack while coming up in defence to shut down any backline assistance that the oppositions forwards are known for.
The key man for the Eels is once again their chief playmaker in Mitch Moses. The halfback was putting on a clinical display of set pieces early in their encounter against the Panthers in round one, however, a head knock and ill-discipline from their side made all his efforts go to waste eventually losing the match never recovering. Moses will look to have a man-of-the-match performance against their rivals the Sea Eagles and opposing half Daly Cherry-Evans to put together damaging plays while rewarding his forwards with opposition dropouts or scrums deep inside their half.
Prediction: Manly by 4
Parramatta has beaten the Sea Eagles in the last 6 matches these sides have met. Sea Eagles last won against the Eels 22-18 in 2014.
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14 Jackson Hastings, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Kelepi Tanginoa Reserves: 18 Matthew Wright, 19 Lewis Brown, 20 Jack Gosiewski, 21 Frank Winterstein
Eels: 1 Bevan French, 2 Josh Hoffman, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Jarryd Hayne, 5 Kirisome Auva’a, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Daniel Alvaro, 9 Cameron King, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tepai Moeroa, 13 Nathan Brown. Interchange: 14 Beau Scott (c), 15 Brad Takairangi, 16 Suaia Matagi, 17 Kane Evans. Reserves: 18 Will Smith, 19 Kenny Edwards, 20 David Gower, 21 Kaysa Pritchard
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 18th March
Kick-off: 4:10pm (AEDT)
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