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2021 NRL Round 25 Preview, Cowboys Vs Sea Eagles

Joshua Knox previews Manly-Warringah’s pursuit of a top four finish or can the Cowboys finish the season with back to back wins. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Queensland Country Bank Stadium, Date: Saturday September 4, Time: 5:30pm.

Cowboys Team

1. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow
2. Kyle Feldt
3. Valentine Holmes
4. Ben Hampton
5. Murray Taulagi
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Tom Dearden
8. Coen Hess
9. Reece Robson
10. Jordan McLean
11. Ben Condon
12. Jeremiah Nanai
13. Jason Taumalolo
14. Jake Granville
15. Heilum Luki
16. Mitchell Dunn
17. Griffin Neame
18. Tom Gilbert
19. Daejarn Asi
20. Lachlan Burr
21. Connelly Lemuelu

Team Changes

IN: Coen Hess, Connelly Lemuelu, Lachlan Burr, Tom Gilbert
OUT: Reuben Cotter

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. Josh Aloiai
9. Lachlan Croker
10. Martin Taupau
11. Haumole Olakau’atu
12. Josh Shuster
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Dylan Walker
15. Karl Lawton
16. Sean Keppie
17. Taniela Paseka
18. Toafofoa Sipley
19. Moses Suli
20. Curtis Sironen
21. Kurt De Luis

Team Changes

IN: Kurt De Luis, Sean Keppie, Taniela Paseka
OUT:

Referee: Ben Cummins

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Cowboys

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The Cowboys finally returned to winning ways proving too strong for the St George-Illawarra Dragons 38-26 last start. The score-line flatters the Cowboys who were forced to overturn a 10 point deficit in the second half after conceding 20 first half points. What followed was something Cowboys fans have been looking for for the majority of the season, a silky attack. They put on four tries in the space of nine minutes to overpower the Dragons.

The Cowboys lose Reuben Cotter to injury but regain Coen Hess to take his spot. This shifts Jason Taumalolo back to lock forward to accommodate the return of Hess. Tom Dearden recorded his first win of the season after not being able to grab one in his time at the Broncos to begin the season before joining the Cowboys and being a part of their losing streak. He starred in the win scoring a try, grabbing a try assist to go along with two line breaks and four tackle breaks.

Sea Eagles

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Despite a comprehensive 36-18 score-line over the Bulldogs last time out, the Manly side were not at their best and it would have fans worried heading into the finals. A win over the Cowboys however will have Manly finish in the top four and earn a crucial double chance in their hunt for a premiership. Tom Trbojevic had what seemed a quiet game but still finished with a hat-trick of tries with four line breaks and nine tackle breaks.

The Sea Eagles just make the one change with Taniela Paseka returning forcing Curtis Sironen back to the extended bench. This will shape as a match where Manly will want to flex their muscles before a likely match up against either Melbourne or Penrith in week one of the finals. A strong showing from Trbojevic should just about lock in the star fullbacks first Dally M Medal.

PREVIEW

This shapes as a match that will feature a lot of attack, and potentially not much defence. Manly are not known for their tight defence but have blown teams off the park with arguably the best attack in the league currently. The Cowboys have conceded 24 or more points in their last five outings and look lost at sea on the edges which is where Manly are at their most potent.

The Cowboys gave their fans a glimpse of what they are capable of last weekend and the spine of Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow, Scott Drinkwater, Tom Dearden and Reece Robson is one that will only get better with time and experience. Throw in international forwards Jason Taumalolo and Jordan McLean and a premiership winner in Valentine Holmes and they have all of the ingredients to be a force to be reckoned with in 2022. The move of Holmes to the centres will be a serious test but could be a masterstroke from Todd Payton, especially if they keep Manly’s edge attack quiet over the 80 minutes.

Manly have become a genuine premiership contender over the back half of the season and looking at their team on paper, you can see why. Tom Trbojevic is the best player in the game. The wingers Reuben Garrick and Jason Saab have both scored over 20 tries this season. Daly Cherry-Evans is playing some of his best career football and Kieran Foran is winding back the clock to Manly days of old. That isn’t even mentioning young back rowers Josh Schuster and Haumole Olakau’atu who’ve had breakout rookie seasons. Watch out for this side in the finals, they won’t roll over lightly if they stay fully fit. Cowboys, watch out.

KEY STAT

The last time these two sides met resulted in a huge 50-18 win for the Sea Eagles. The concerning part for the Cowboys was that it happened with no Tom Trbojevic in the Manly lineup. The Cowboys jumped out to a 12-0 in the first ten minutes before Daly Cherry-Evans had a night out grabbing three try assists, six offloads and a whopping 13 tackle busts in a star performance just nights after playing in State of Origin. Haumole Olakau’atu and Brad Parker both grabbed doubles in the trouncing.

PREDICTION

It’s hard to see anything other than a Manly victory in this one. The Cowboys look to be playing with some freedom and might be able to score a few points against a shaky Manly defence. The Sea Eagles will want to flex their muscles before the finals.

Manly by 20

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