In what has been a ‘bizarre’ early season draw Manly and Parramatta meet for the second time this year despite it only being round 7, the venue this time being the ANZ Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
What can you say about Parramatta’s form this season? Six straight losses doesn’t look pretty and neither has their performances on the field, with the side struggling for points and confidence. The Eels can take some confidence from their defence which has improved in recent weeks.
Manly’s form hasn’t been much better this season especially in their last two outings where they’ve been convincingly beaten by the Titans and Tigers. With injuries and off field dramas dominating their season so far the Sea Eagles are in need of change of fortune.
It’s of no surprise the Eels have made multiple changes to their squad after their ‘pathetic’ showing last week against Canberra. The most notable omission is that of Flyer Bevan French who made more errors than runs last week, he is replaced by the returning Jarryd Hayne who will lineup on the wing for the first time in quite a while.
Manly coach Trent Barrett has resisted making any changes to his lineup this weekend despite the heavy loss to the Tigers, it’s hard know whether Barrett is showing faith in the players selected or if he has simply no other options considering the club’s combination of injuries and their dire salary cap situation.
As mentioned these two sides have already met once this season in round 2 and it was a resounding victory for Manly 54-0, in that match Manly ran riot and the game was over after 20 mins. Sadly for both sides their seasons have both failed to take off since that match with Manly winning just the one game since then.
It’s fair to say these two sides are struggling for different reasons in season 2018 and if you were looking at the form guide you could be forgiven for skipping this game, but there are plenty of reasons to watch as these two fierce rivals still have plenty to play for.
It’s still early in the season but for Parramatta it’s almost a must win game if they’re still harbouring plans of playing finals football, despite being winless they still have a good side on paper and will be hoping Hayne and Clint Gutherson can spark their season.
For the Manly players they’ll be busting to get on the field and leave a rather sad week behind them after coming off a massive home loss to the Tigers and the drama surrounding the ‘apparent’ player revolt against Jackson Hastings. The Trbojevic brothers and Daly Cherry-Evans will also be looking to impress with State of Origin selection creeping up.
“I pick the teams and the players certainly don’t”- Trent Barrett when asked if the players wanted to play with Jackson Hastings
“There were a few blow ups and a few boys got pumped, it was getting intense”- Kane Evans talks about the Eels’ ‘honesty session’
Parramatta’s attack is the worst in the league by a distance with only 46 points to show from their six games, that’s and average of 7.6 points a game.
Eels: 1 Clint Gutherson, 2 Jarryd Hayne, 3 Michael Jennings, 4 Brad Takairangi, 5 George Jennings, 6 Corey Norman, 7 Mitchell Moses, 8 Kane Evans, 9 Cameron King, 10 Tim Mannah (c), 11 Manu Ma’u, 12 Tony Williams, 13 Peni Terepo, 14 Will Smith, 15 Kenny Edwards, 16 David Gower, 17 Daniel Alvaro, 18 Beau Scott, 19 Josh Hoffman, 20 Suaia Matagi, 21 Marata Niukore
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Brad Parker, 3 Dylan Walker, 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 Jack Gosiewski, 13 Jake Trbojevic, 14 Matthew Wright, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka, 18 Jonathan Wright, 19 Lewis Brown, 20 Frank Winterstein, 21 Toafofoa Sipley
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday April 22nd
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney Olympic Park
WHO WILL WIN?