The last game of round 19 will see the Sea Eagles taking on the Roosters at Lottoland in a crucial clash for the visitors with four teams on locked on 24 points
TEAM FORM GUIDE
MANLY SEA EAGLES
Manly are sitting 13th on the ladder with their finals hopes all but over, but there is signs of life still there and they definitely have the ability to give any team some trouble coming into the back-end of the season.
Still up there as premiership favourites, the Roosters are sitting pretty in the top four and welcome back some big name players after belting the Titans last weekend despite a team reshuffle and three players on debut.
MANLY SEA EAGLES
No real changes for the home team except for Jorge Taufua being included on an extended bench. He broke his collarbone in the loss to the Rabbitohs in round three and will be itching to get back into the side.
Huge changes for the Roosters as they welcome back Cooper Cronk, James Tedesco, Latrell Mitchell, Boyd Cordner, Mitch Aubusson and Victor Radley, who all missed the victory over the Titans last week. There is a slight question mark over Cronk, with his wife Tara Rushton still very close to giving birth to the couples first child. Sean O’Sullivan is included on the extended bench just in case after he made a good impact last week on debut even though his try was controversial.
The last time these two teams met was back in round 9 with the Roosters winning 22-20 after Manly scored late in the game, although Manly are missing a few players this time around. This time they won’t have Apasai Koroisau or Dylan Walker, who have been replaced by rookie Manase Fainu and Tom Wright respectively. Fainu in particular was electric last week in their narrow loss to the storm, with 45 tackles, three tackle busts, three offloads, a try assist and a line break. Daly Cherry-Evans was also on fire against the Storm and almost led them to victory. He appears to be flying high on confidence after his big game in his return to Origin. The combination of Jake and Tom Trbojevic cannot be ignored, as Tom loves to sniff up the middle waiting for a late offload from his big brother.
The Roosters look to consolidate their spot in the top four, well aware that Penrith, Cronulla and the Warriors winning could knock them all the way down to 7th. With their three Origin players as well as Cronk, Aubusson and Radley all coming back fresh after a week off it’s hard to see them not coming out strong. Manly have been pretty bad at home this season, with a 2-7 record at Lottoland.
Some intriguing individual matchups in this game, with NSW teammates James Tedesco and Tom Trbojevic both at fullback, current QLD halfback Daly Cherry-Evans up against former QLD halfback Cooper Cronk. In the forwards we can expect some big contact from New Zealanders Marty Taupau, who is having another fantastic season, and Jared Warea-Hargreaves, who looks to be getting back into the form that made him such a feared enforcer back in their three-peat minor premierships and 2013 Grand Final win.
In the last five games between these two teams, four have been decided by six points or less (three have been decided by two points). Overall the Roosters only have a 4-15 win record at Lottoland.
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Thomas Wright, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Manase Fainu, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic Interchange: 14 Trent Hodkinson, 15 Kelepi Tanginoa, 16 Frank Winterstein, 17 Taniela Paseka
Roosters: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Blake Ferguson, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend (c), 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Victor Radley, 13 Isaac Liu Interchange: 14 Ryan Matterson, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Mitchell Aubusson, 17 Kurt Baptiste
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Sunday 22nd July
Venue: Lottoland (Brookvale Oval)
Televised: Channel 9, Fox League
WHO WILL WIN?
Roosters too strong with too much to play for with rested players. I’m tipping Roosters by 16.