Date: Friday June 27
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Sea Eagles: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Dunamis Lui. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, James Hasson, Tom Symonds, Jason King
Roosters: Anthony Minichiello (c), Daniel Tupou, Mitchell Aubusson, Shaun Kenny-Dowall, Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, James Maloney, Mitchell Pearce, Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (vc), Jake Friend, Sam Moa, Aidan Guerra, Sonny Bill Williams, Frank-Paul Nuuausala. Interchange: Dylan Napa, Isaac Liu, Boyd Cordner, Remi Casty, Heath L’Estrange
The 2013 grand finalists face off for the second time this season on Friday night at Brookvale Oval.
The Sea Eagles were without Brett Stewart and Jorge Taufua the last time these two teams met, they also lost Glenn Stewart early on following a Jared Warea-Hargreaves shoulder which knocked Stewart out and ultimately cost “JWH” a week on the sideline. The Roosters reverted to their 2013 tactic of pushing the limits in that game and as a result ended up on the wrong side of a lop sided penalty count. Manly were able to hold on late to record an 8-0 victory in what was a defensive minded but scrappy game.
Brett Stewart could be the difference in this game. The Sea Eagles have struggled against an unbelievable Roosters defence in recent times, but those matches have also correlated with the absence of the Sea Eagles fullback. Stewart looked back to his best last week since a hamstring injury earlier in the season. His speed and anticipation brings something to the Manly attack that no other player can and points invariably come along with it.
The Roosters will be without NSW centre Michael Jennings who sustained a back injury in Origin II leaving Mitch Aubusson to man the left edge against Jamie Lyon, however the Roosters left hand side will receive a boost with Boyd Cordner returning from a long stint on the sidelines, he has been named on the bench but it would surprise nobody if he was to be named in the starting line up an hour before kick off.
This will be a tight game with neither team unwilling to give up points too easily, it’s hard to see more than a handful of tries being scored but it won’t be the dour 8-0 game we saw earlier in the year either. Both sides are in much better form than they were back in round four and it probably won’t be the last time they meet this year, the Sea Eagles will still be burning from the grand final loss and should have enough to topple the Roosters and remain on top of the ladder.
Sea Eagles 16 Roosters 14
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