Manly Sea Eagles return home to battle the Canterbury Bulldogs for an intriguing Women in league match on Saturday night at McGrath Foundation Stadium.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
A difficult visit to Sharks on Sunday afternoon, going down to the wire for just the third golden point game of the year. Manly looked the better side for the majority of the game allowing Daly Cherry-Evans to snap a left foot field goal early in the extended period to allow Sea Eagles a win 33-32.
Canterbury was tasked with taking down a confident Broncos side gaining momentum towards finals. Bulldogs were more enthusiastic and driven for a victory playing a high percentage game, chipping away at the score even with threats of Brisbane coming back to win. The home side took down the Broncos 36-22 dealing a blow to their top four hopes.
Manly are unchanged from their side last week that won over Cronulla.
Prop David Klemmer returns from suspension, putting Danny Fualalo to the bench and Greg Eastwood moving to the reserves. Jeremy Marshall-King comes back to replace Matt Frawley at halfback.
This match is a bottom of the ladder game but still has the potential to be an even contest that will entertain many, with both sides on same competition points trying to climb away from the wooden spoon. These sides have had horrible seasons both on and off the field however their form has come around to finish the year on winning terms. In the past five meetings, the Bulldogs have dominated this matchup winning four of those and many by 12 or more points.
A win in this game for either side could be enough to jump ahead to 12th place which would nearly dissipate any mention of coming last with 3 rounds left. The Women in league game at McGrath Foundation Stadium (Lottoland) is sure to have key matchups but the most important will be between Martin Taupau and David Klemmer, two of their team’s big enforcers.
Coming off suspension David Klemmer will be looking to get the Dogs onto the front foot early against the Sea Eagles to try to push further away from spoon contention. Though it’s not been a great year for the Bulldogs, Klemmer has been a standout once again for the side leading their forward pack each week. The prop forward has accumulated an incredible 1297 post contact metres this season which is third overall in the NRL, David also averages 171 run metres with 16 hit-ups per game. The Bulldogs enforcer will be looking to make that trademark impact in the game early if they are any chance of beating a Manly side also coming off a big win.
Martin Taupau has been a huge part of Manly this season playing a leading role and consistently producing outstanding performances. Sea Eagles have been riddled with injuries and off-field drama, however, Taupau has been a shining light once again for their side potentially the best prop in the game for some time now. Martin is at the top for many categories heading into the last part of the season with 63 offloads and racking up 3287 total run metres in 2018, which is all class by the Manly forward in a struggling side. If his side is to win the big man will need to provide immediate force through the middle as he always does, getting over the Dogs pack and laying a platform for his flashy backs to work off if they are to come away with back to back wins.
Four of the past five matches between the two sides have been decided by double-digit margins. Daly Cherry-Evans is one try away from 50 career NRL tries.
Sea Eagles:1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Bradley Parker, 6 Dylan Walker, 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 Jack Gosiewski, 17 Taniela Paseka
Bulldogs: 1 Will Hopoate, 2 Brett Morris, 3 Josh Morris, 4 Kerrod Holland, 5 Reimis Smith, 6 Lachlan Lewis, 7 Jeremy Marshall-King, 8 Aiden Tolman, 9 Michael Lichaa, 10 David Klemmer, 11 Josh Jackson (c), 12 Rhyse Martin, 13 Adam Elliott
Interchange: 14 Fa’amanu Brown, 15 Danny Fualalo, 16 Ofahiki Ogden, 17 Chris Smith
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 11th August
Venue: McGrath Foundation Stadium (Lottoland)
Kick-off: 5:30 pm
Referee: Chris Sutton
WHO WILL WIN?
A significant game for the Bulldogs and Manly with the season drawing to a close. Sea Eagles will be out to get a rare win at home in 2018, losing five straight at Lottoland. Dogs will be looking for a third consecutive win for the first time this season and lift them higher from a potential last place spot. Both sides forwards are massive influences on their outcomes but more so for the Bulldogs. Being away, Canterbury will need to win the opening half if they are any chance of an upset. Manly in front of a home crowd witnessing a clutch win against the Sharks the round before should be very motivated, with their backs having an edge over their opposition look out for points galore if the likes of Taupau, Trbojevic and Fonua-Blake bash the Bulldogs early out of the match. A close game is to be expected with either on same competition wins but expect the Sea Eagles to run away with it having more punch in their backline. Prediction: Manly by 12