Andrew Pelechaty previews the bottom eight clash between Canterbury-Bankstown and Manly Warringah. This is what we have to look forward to.
Another week, another “honourable” loss for Canterbury, falling 18-14 to the Gold Coast Titans. Trailing 14-6 at halftime, the Bulldogs won the second half (with Nick Meaney, Kieran Foran, and Lachlan Lewis scoring tries), but it wasn’t enough. They’ve lost six straight games and look destined to claim the wooden spoon, as they finish their season against Souths (seventh) and Penrith (first).
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
After making the 2019 semi-finals, Manly’s fall from grace this season has been spectacular. Ever since losing Tommy Turbo in their win against Canberra in round six, they’ve lost nine out of 11, and six in a row. Their last win was against North Queensland in round 11.
They lost the unlosable against the Wests Tigers at Brookvale last Saturday night. Leading 32-18 after 67 minutes (two tries to Morgan Harper, and one each to Jorge Taufua, Jack Gosiewski, Tevita Funa, and Jake Trbojevic), Manly conceded the next 16 points to lose 34-32. That was preceded by heavy losses to Melbourne (30-6) and Souths (56-16). With a nasty differential of -116, their finals hopes are probably gone.
1. Will Hopoate 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 5. Jayden Okunbor 6. Jake Averillo 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Jeremy Marshall-King 10. Aiden Tolman 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson 14. Brandon Wakeham 15. Renouf To’omaga 16. Matt Doorey 17. Sauaso Sue 19. Dean Britt 20. Tuipulotu Katoa 21. Tim Lafai 23. Chris Smith.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
1. Tevita Funa 2. Albert Hopoate 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Abbas Miski 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Danny Levi 10. Martin Taupau 11. Jack Gosiewski 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lachlan Croker 15. Corey Waddell 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Haumole Olakau’atu 19. Luke Metcalf 20. Morgan Boyle 21. Ben Trbojevic.
Canterbury lead the head-to-head 20-15 since 1998. Manly have won the last two: 32-6 in round three this year (the first round back from the COVID-19 break, with a fit Tommy T scoring two of Manly’s seven tries), and 18-10 in 2019.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Reimis Smith vs Brad Parker
Smith has played 11 games this season for three tries. He’s made one line break assist, 14 tackle breaks, and has an 80.6% tackle efficiency. If Smith has a big game, Canterbury will be a chance for an upset win.
Hank Scorpio’s alter ego, Parker has scored two tries in 16 games, with two try assists, one line break assist, and a 79.4% tackle efficiency. Like Smith, if Parker wanders through the Hammock District and finds the tryline, then Manly will probably win.
This game could go two ways: with nothing to lose, Canterbury and Manly could throw the ball around in a high-scoring affair; or it could be a boring slugfest between two strugglers.
The question is, who wants this more? Do Manly want to regain some pride and start building for 2021? Will Canterbury remember how to win and hand finally hand Brisbane the wooden spoon?
Manly to win.
Manly by four.
Date: Friday, September 11.
Kick-off: ANZ Stadium, Sydney.