Mitch Dransfield previews Thursday night footy with the Sea Eagles up against Broncos at Central Coast Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Manly was in the game of the round last Saturday night against old rivals Parramatta. It was a game of high possession counts and a dubious forward pass calls that had Sea Eagles unable to catch up to the Eels by the end of the match. They lost the close encounter 19-16 to Eels with still a lot of positives to take away from it.
Since the competition resumed, Brisbane have had a tough run, with their match against Sydney coming at the worst time for them. Injuries and suspensions for the Broncos had them limping already into the match with the Roosters blowing them off the park from start to finish to record a 59-0 score. Brisbane has to recover from their worst defeat ever at Suncorp quickly.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Brad Parker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Morgan Boyle 19. Jack Gosiewski 20. Tevita Funa 21. Brendan Elliot.
1. Jamayne Isaako 2. Xavier Coates 3. Kotoni Staggs 4. Darius Boyd 5. Herbie Farnworth 6. Anthony Milford 7. Brodie Croft 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Cory Paix 10. Payne Haas 11. Corey Oates 12. Joe Ofahengaue 13. Patrick Carrigan 14. Tesi Niu 15. Ben Te’o 16. Rhys Kennedy 17. Thomas Flegler 18. Jamil Hopoate 19. Richard Kennar 20. Tom Dearden 21. Ethan Bullemor.
This rivalry has always been strong between these two powerhouse clubs. The most recent clashes have taken place in Brisbane, with both Broncos and Manly hosting there; this obviously ties into Broncos having home ground advantage which they’ve used to their benefit over the past five seasons, winning five from seven fixtures against the Sea Eagles. Usually, their games are played at this time of the year just, around Origin time, so many players are battling injuries or issues which have impacted these meetings often.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Brodie Croft v Daly Cherry-Evans
The battle to watch in this fixture is a tough selection; on one hand, you’ve got two impressive forward packs going head to head but that will likely be less of a factor with how they matchup. The chief halfbacks in Brodie Croft and Daly Cherry-Evans are going to be pivotal in getting their sides to bounce back after tough defeats.
Croft, so far at his time in Brisbane, has been one of the positives to come out of a hot-and-cold season. The playmaker has adjusted to working off the back of the Broncos power forwards to take the line on himself and assist Milford in set plays. The fifth tackle options have grown with time and he is starting to find his own style of play where he can back himself with the controlling duty for the team.
DCE has been in great form, not only in leadership but his decision making in-game. A slight hiccup in his form last week against tougher opposition will have him build on that this week with his combination with a fit Tom Trbojevic getting better each round. The Manly skipper will need to be on from the outset of this match to have his forwards rewarded for their earlier efforts as they will be up against a formidable side upfront.
It’s a tough ask for these sides to come against one another now more than ever. Brisbane is struggling to field a strong side each week, with players injured while against the stronger sides so far this year. Manly are in less strife however after losing a brutal clash against Parramatta; it’s a four-day turnaround for the northern beaches team, however, they are back in Gosford at their current home ground.
The way I see this match playing out is who holds the possession and set restarts for the opening stages; if Brisbane can do so it will go a long way to stopping this strong Manly outfit if not well the Sea Eagles could start fast and blow the Broncos out early for them to try scramble back the entire game. It’s a tough ask for Brisbane to travel south for the first time this year and win against the Manly side away with all their team’s issues.
Sea Eagles by 10.
Date: Thursday 11th June
Venue: Central Coast Stadium