The Sea Eagles are hoping to bounce back against the Knights after an embarrassing loss to the Eels which came after a week of drama for the Manly club. Friday night at Lottoland will be an entertaining match, however, with Mitchell Pearce absent from the Newcastle line-up, the side may struggle.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Manly Sea Eagles
Manly was the first team this year to let the Parramatta Eels have the two competition points when they were defeated 44-10 last Sunday afternoon. This defeat no doubt came partially because of the off-field drama surrounding the club in the lead up to the game. Manly currently sit on two victories so far this season and will be desperate to get their third against the Knights.
The Knights are sitting just inside the top eight on the competition ladder, winning four of their seven matches this season. Last weekend they faced the Wests Tigers and won narrowly in a comeback late in the game. The side won by just two points after Kenny-Dowall crossed the line with just two minutes remaining. Despite the win, the Knights face potentially difficult four months of competition after losing star Mitchell Pearce to an injury.
Manly Sea Eagles
Brad Parker has been brought into the starting side on the wing, replacing Matt Wright who is now on the interchange bench. Trent Barrett has named an otherwise unchanged side following their defeat against Parramatta last Sunday afternoon.
Mitchell Pearce suffered an injury against the Tigers which will leave him out of the side for up to four months which will undoubtedly have a significant impact on the side. Connor Watson makes his return from injury to play at five-eighth partnering with Jack Cogger who will play halfback. Luke Yates has been given a place on the interchange bench, and Daniel Saifiti remains in the starting side after last weekend’s win.
The two sides have issues to overcome leading into this Friday night clash. For the Knights, they have had to deal with the loss of Mitchell Pearce, and for Manly, the off-field drama with Cherry-Evans that has surfaced in the last 10 days is causing problems for the club. This drama had an impact on their performance last week, and no doubt could do the same against the Knights on Friday night.
Newcastle have played some quality football so far this season, and will no doubt be looking to replicate this and claim two additional competition points come to the end of the Friday night clash. Manly have shown elements of quality and displayed their potential as a team, playing convincingly in the two matches they have won this year.
Being without Mitchell Pearce could prove costly for the Newcastle Knights considering the positive impact he has had on the club upon arrival at the beginning of the season. The club will be without Pearce for as long as sixteen weeks, making Friday night their first opportunity to adapt and change their side to make it work without their star halfback.
Both sides have a lot to prove on Friday night, and the clash between these two clubs should make for an entertaining eighty minutes.
Manly dominate the history between these two clubs, winning 8 from the past 11 matches played together.
Manly Sea Eagles
1 Tom Trbojevic 2 Matt Wright 3 Dylan Walker 4 Brian Kelly 5 Akuila Uate 6 Lachlan Croker 7 Daly Cherry-Evans © 8 Addin Fonua-Blake 9 Api Koroisau 10 Martin Taupau 11 Joel Thompson 12 Jack Gosiewski 13 Jake Trbojevic INTERCHANGE 14 Lewis Brown 15 Shaun Lane 16 Lloyd Perrett 17 Taniela Paseka
1 Kalyn Ponga 2 Ken Sio 3 Sione Mata’utia 4 Nathan Ross 5 Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6 Connor Watson 7 Jack Cogger 8 Herman Ese’ese 9 Slade Griffin 10 Daniel Saifiti 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12 Aidan Guerra 13 Mitch Barnett INTERCHANGE 14 Jamie Buhrer 15. Chris Heighington 16 Luke Yates 17 Jacob Saifiti
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Friday, April 27
WHO WILL WIN?
Manly have a lot to prove to themselves and their fans following all this recent controversy, and the Knights will have to adapt without Mitchell Pearce. It won’t be an easy game for either side.
Knights by 1