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2021 NRL Round 20 Preview, Sharks Vs Sea Eagles

Brendan Wood previews the round 20 clash between the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Redcliffe, Date: 2/8, Time: 8:05pm AEST

Sharks Team

1. Will Kennedy
2. Sione Katoa
3. Will Chambers
4. Jesse Ramien
5. Ronaldo Mulitalo
6. Connor Tracey
7. Braydon Trindall
8. Aiden Tolman
9. Blayke Brailey
10. Aaron Woods
11. Briton Nikora
12. Siosifa Talakai
13. Toby Rudolf
14. Braden Hamlin-Uele
15. Royce Hunt
16. Jack Williams
17. Andrew Fifita
18. Matt Moylan
19. Luke Metcalf
20. Billy Magoulias
21. Jonaiah Lualua

Team Changes

IN: Aiden Tolman, Matt Moylan, Will Chambers, Luke Metcalf, Jonaiah Lualua.
OUT: Shaun Johnson, Mawene Hiroti

Sea Eagles Team

1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Jason Saab
3. Brad Parker
4. Morgan Harper
5. Reuben Garrick
6. Kieran Foran
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Taniela Paseka
9. Lachlan Croker
10. Martin Taupau
11. Haumole Olakau’atu
12. Josh Shuster
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Dylan Walker
15. Karl Lawton
16. Curtis Sironen
17. Toafofoa Sipley
18. Moses Suli
19. Cade Cust
20. Jack Gosiewski
21. Kurt de Luis

Team Changes

IN: Cade Cust, Curtis Sironen, Karl Lawton, Jack Gosiewski, Kurt de Luis.
OUT: Josh Aloiai, Sean Keppie

Referee: Gerard Sutton

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

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Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks

Shaun Johnson is the big out for the Sharks. A re-occurrence of the same hamstring issues that have plagued his career will sideline Johnson for 4-8 weeks. Connor Tracey takes his spot in the halves, with Matt Moylan named in the squad as 18th man. Aiden Tolman and Will Chambers also make timely returns to the side. Royce Hunt will play his first game for the year after being named on the bench.

The Sharks got back in the winner’s circle last week as they hammered the last place Bulldogs 44-24 on the Gold Coast.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

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Manly’s bench has been bolstered by the return of Curtis Sironen from a knee injury and Karl Lawton from a back injury. Josh Aloiai is out suspended and Sean Keppie drops out of the squad.

Manly triumphed over the Tigers 44-24 at Suncorp Stadium last week and will be looking to continue their winning ways.

PREVIEW

This game may be listed as a Sharks home game on paper, but it’ll be neutral venue when both teams travel to Moreton Daily Stadium in Redcliffe. With Manly firing on all cylinders in attack, the Sharks will be tasked with slowing down the likes of Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic, something few teams have managed to accomplish of late.

With Shaun Johnson likely done for the season, extra responsibility will be placed on the shoulders of Braydon Trindall to steer the Sharks successfully into a finals birth. Named at halfback, it’s a role he’s had minimal experience with, but we may see Trindall shine if given an extended run. He has looked right at home taking over goal-kicking responsibilities and will now have first crack at kicking in general play.

Matt Moylan is named in the squad, so it’s possible he could be a late in to give Trindall an experienced halves partner again. However, a Manly side pushing for a top four birth will be his biggest challenge yet.

For Manly, they have been fortunate with injuries and still boast a very healthy squad after the Origin period, something coach Des Hasler will be pleased to see. After missing the past two club games due to Origin and a rest, Daly Cherry-Evans bounced back in the best way possible: scoring two tries and having a hand in almost every scoring play Manly could produce against the Tigers.

The Sharks will not only need to be on alert for Cherry-Evans, but for arguably the most in-form player in the competition Tom Trbojevic. We saw through the Origin period Trbojevic was a class above his opposition in almost every game. His combination with both Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran is the glue that holds this Manly side together.

KEY STAT

Since 1998, Manly hold a strong head-to-head record over the Sharks, winning 22 of 32 meetings. Manly have also won 11 of the last 13 games between the two sides.

PREDICTION

With Shaun Johnson missing, Manly are almost full-strength and should have too much firepower for the Sharks.

Sea Eagles by 16.

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