Another double-header arrives for the indigenous round with Manly Sea Eagles playing off against the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
After four straight defeats, Manly faced the Sydney Roosters which was a back and forth encounter with both sides 14 all at halftime. A missed conversion from the Sea Eagles was defining factor in a close match with Sydney winning 22-20.
Brisbane put back to back wins together beating the Bulldogs at home 22-20 with a controversial conversion leading to the Broncos scraping another victory.
Manly remain unchanged from last week’s close defeat to the Roosters.
Kodi Nikorima elevated from the interchange to halfback, with Jack Bird returning to the centre’s role for Tom Opacic who moves back to the bench.
An exciting double-header in Brisbane once again sees Manly hosting the Broncos on their home ground, both sides have been below their fans expectations this season. The two teams have been hit with multiple injuries all over the squad and off the back of this the forward packs have significantly changed since the beginning of the season, through this the key battles will be between the more experienced forwards.
Manly despite their losing ways have had their two big men in Martin Taupau and Jake Trbojevic go to another level in the last fortnight. Taupau in his last two matches has accumulated 537 run metres, 6 offloads and 22 tackle busts which has the Sea Eagles nearly taste victory off the back of those efforts alone.
Alongside his big kiwi teammate, Trbojevic has followed suit averaging 211 metres in the past two games along while making 77 tackles. If the Sea Eagles are to find a crucial win against the Broncos they will want these two marquee men to stiffen-up the middle third of the field and run over the opposition’s defence allowing their underperforming backs to find some needed points.
Broncos have been hit hard with injuries to backrowers in Matt Gillett and Josh McGuire sidelined for long periods, but with that more playing minutes and a switch to lock has seen Tevita Pangai Jnr prosper. Pangai Jnr has stepped up massively since the added responsibility in the middle of the Brisbane side, the lock forward with his fancy footwork and a big frame has been troubling opposition all season. Tevita will have a massive task of containing the Manly forwards of Taupau and opposing lock Trbojevic from taking control of the middle and dictating terms for the majority of the match.
Brisbane and Manly have met for 43 matches with an even split of 21 wins each with a draw. These two sides have played at Suncorp 20 times with 12 wins to the Broncos.
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Dylan Walker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Lewis Brown, 15 Frank Winterstein, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Taniela Paseka
Broncos: 1 Darius Boyd (c), 2 Corey Oates, 3 James Roberts, 4 Jack Bird, 5 Jamayne Isaako, 6 Anthony Milford, 7 Kodi Nikorima, 8 Matthew Lodge, 9 Andrew McCullough, 10 Sam Thaiday, 11 Alex Glenn, 12 Jaydn Su’A, 13 Tevita Pangai jnr
Interchange: 14 Payne Haas, 15 Joe Ofahengaue, 16 Korbin Sims, 17 Tom Opacic
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 12th May
Venue: Suncorp Stadium
Kick-off: 7:35 pm
Referee: Grant Atkins
WHO WILL WIN?
Difficult game to predict with unconvincing wins in the past two weeks by the Broncos while Sea Eagles have been at their worst. The Manly side has each round since their last win way back in round 4 slowly built a better performance and with desperation could trouble the Broncos. The Brisbane team will enjoy having their crowd at Suncorp although it’s a Sea Eagles home fixture, it will come down to completions and fewer errors of which Broncos have been able to maintain in close matches.
Prediction: Broncos by 2