After two pulsating matches to start 2014, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles may find things a little easier on Sunday when they host the Parramatta Eels at Brookvale Oval.
The Eels are coming off a 56-4 demolition at the hands of the Sydney Roosters and it’s hard to see how they will rise to the challenge of facing the Sea Eagles, even without Brett Stewart to worry about.
After going down in a golden point thriller to the Melbourne Storm in round one, the Sea Eagles came out on top against a disappointing South Sydney Rabbitohs last Friday night in a gritty performance that has been their trademark for a decade.
The Eels were down 16-4 at half-time last week, and the game was still up for grabs. However they completely capitulated in the second half, conceding 40 unanswered points, reminding us all of why they have won the last two wooden spoons.
Glenn Stewart returns at lock for the Sea Eagles and his play making on the edge will keep the Eels on their toes all game. They have the best young halves in the game in Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans and a brilliant centre pairing of Jamie Lyon and Steve Matai. The Eels on the other hand, have Jarryd Hayne at fullback, who can drift in and out of games, and Semi Radradra on the wing has shown promise. Will Hopoate will get better in the coming weeks as he continues his return to the NRL.
After a 52-point loss last week one must wonder how the Eels will react if they concede early points, and I can’t see them coming close to the Sea eagles, especially at fortress Brookvale.