The Sydney Roosters travel to the northern beaches to take on the Manly Sea Eagles in a primetime Saturday night fixture which will have plenty of feeling.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Manly Sea Eagles
Manly was tasked with containing a flamboyant Wests Tigers at Leichhardt Oval in their season opener. It was a struggle for both outfits early in the game, with drop balls and other errors frustrating each team. Manly went up 2-0 with a penalty goal, despite most of the possession with Wests for the first half; as the rain faded out of the match, the Tigers pounced to score three soft tries within 17 minutes to have a dominant win.
Sydney took on their foundation club rivals South Sydney Rabbitohs in a fiery clash at the SCG. It was a back and forth encounter with tries being scored at either end for both sides with errors slowly accumulating for the Roosters which damaged their chances after leading at half time 12-10. The Rabbitohs clinched the win with three tries to one over the Roosters, with the Sydney side now needing to clean up their discipline when taking on Manly.
Manly Sea Eagles
Des Hasler has changed the Manly team that fell to the Tigers with the suspension to Addin Fonua-Blake has Toafofoa Sipley promoted to the run on side. The interchange is rebuilt with Trent Hodkinson making way for Manase Fainu and Corey Waddell will make his way onto the bench playing his debut match in the NRL for the Sea Eagles. It’s Joel Thompson’s 200th NRL game.
Manly Sea Eagles squad: 1 Brendan Elliot, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brad Parker, 5 Reuben Garrick, 6 Kane Elgey, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans, 8 Toafofoa Sipley, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Manase Fainu, 15 Jack Gosiewski, 16 Corey Waddell, 17 Kelepi Tanginoa
Reserves: 18 Trent Hodkinson, 19 Tevita Funa, 20 Lloyd Perrett, 21 Lachlan Croker
Trent Robinson sticks with the same 17 that lost to the Rabbitohs in round one, with new signing Angus Crichton still on the bench.
Sydney Roosters squad: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Brett Morris, 6 Luke Keary, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9 Jake Friend, 10 Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Mitchell Aubusson, 13 Victor Radley
Interchange: 14 Isaac Liu, 15 Zane Tetevano, 16 Lindsay Collins, 17 Angus Crichton
Reserves: 18 Nat Butcher, 19 Matt Ikuvalu, 20 Sitili Tupouniua, 21 Poasa Faamausili
HEAD TO HEAD
The meetings between Manly and Sydney Roosters are usually tough matches that go down to the final minutes. In their last 32 games played the Sea Eagles boast a slight advantage of 18 wins to Roosters’ 14. In last year’s second game between the sides it was an absolute thrashing that the current premiers handed the Manly men – 56-24 at Brookvale. It will be another close game, being only the second weekend of footy for 2019 with both teams finding their feet still after their round one loss.
After receiving convincing losses in their season openers the Manly Sea Eagles and Sydney Roosters will be going into this match to throw everything they have to come up with a win. This rivalry recently has been one of the fixtures to watch each time it comes around, with high scoring games while being close to the end. The Roosters are the benchmark and with that comes one of the best halfbacks in Cooper Cronk now being matched with the current QLD and Australian halfback in Daly Cherry-Evans, these two have a history of providing their teams with finesse in kicking but also leading their sides around the park.
DCE has a knack for playing well in these games with the high skill level that he possesses, and it will no doubt be needed for his side to get over the premiers. Attention to his targeted playmaking will need to be addressed as he was constantly being caught out in situations where he is needing to make a play at the end of sets and coming up short because of pressure. Providing his edge forwards with great service in his ball playing will be crucial for the Manly pack to get over the top of the Roosters, while testing the backline with his kicking game will give his side confidence against such a formidable Roosters side.
The Sydney Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk became one of the most respected grand finalists in 2018, as he has now recovered well after his shoulder injury to look fit and firing. The loss to rivals South Sydney was a weird match for the Roosters, as many of the gripes at the end were ball control and not the actual plays that the premiers were putting on. Cooper showed signs of clutch playmaking in his first match of the season, with over 300 kick metres and a try assist to Mitch Aubusson before the half were big-time plays, however, the lack of ball towards the end of the match limited the halfback and he will need to call for it more often to take control in their match against Manly.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: Saturday 23rd March
Kick-off: 7.35pm AEDT 6.35pm AEST
Referee: Matt Cecchin
WHO WILL WIN?
A huge test for Manly going into their first home game of the season, up against last year’s benchmark team the Roosters. An emphasis will be on ball control for both sides as it was lacking greatly in their opening games. The Roosters will look to run over the home side early with not only their forwards but their strong outside backs. The forwards match up well but with the backline of the Manly side still young and forming combinations with their teammates, it should be a hard feat to beat Sydney’s experience. A more than likely entertaining and high scoring match that won’t disappoint, but the Sydney Roosters to run away with the win off the back of their edge players.
Prediction: Sydney Roosters by 12