Andrew Pelechaty previews the Mudgee clash between Manly Warringah and Canberra …
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Vs Canberra Raiders
Glen Willow Oval, Mudgee
Date: Saturday April 2, 5:30pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Sean Keppie 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Josh Aloiai 20. Tolutau Koula 21. Jorge Taufua 22. Kurt De Luis 23. Christian Tuipulotu 24. Alec Tuitavake
Josh Aloiai returns from suspension but hasn’t cracked the starting 17 for this weekend. That starting 17 is unchanged from last weekend’s win over the Bulldogs.Embed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Semi Valemei 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Brad Schneider 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Tom Starling 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Corey Harawira-Naera 13. Elliott Whitehead 14. Matt Frawley 15. Emre Guler 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Xavier Savage 19. Ryan Sutton 20. Adrian Trevilyan 21. James Schiller 22. Sam Williams 23. Trey Mooney 24. Peter Hola
Nick Cotric returns to the wing for the first time since Round One, in place of Sebastian Kris who scored a try last weekend. Tom Starling is named at hooker, but he and Matt Frawley swapped for the kick-off last weekend.
Referee: Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski
Canberra come into the game as the higher-placed side, sitting in eighth with a 2-1 record after three rounds after they stormed home over the Titans. Manly Warringah got their first win of the season last weekend, with a 76th minute field goal to Daly Cherry Evans the difference against the Bulldogs. The Sea Eagles sit second last for now.
Tom Trobjevic got on the scoring charts last weekend, but he hasn’t been the dominant force that he was in 2021, yet. Perhaps this is the game where it will all click. He’s still second among fullbacks for Run Metres and Post Contact Metres in 2022 so far, but slides down the list for line breaks and tackle breaks. He is still the man to watch and has scored seven tries in seven matches against Canberra.
The reversal of Tom Trbojevic in a way is Jack Wighton, who has started off 2022 far better than his disappointing 2021. Wighton is second for All Metres Run and Post Contact Metres in 2022 among five-eighths, as well as Tackle Breaks.
Saturday’s game is at the Glen Willow Oval in Mudgee, and Manly had a successful visit there last season, beating the Titans 36-0.
One point of interest is for the classic jersey buffs, with the 2022 offerings from both clubs matching the designs seen in the 1987 NSWRL Grand Final won by the Sea Eagles. Both clubs went onto make a combined seven grand finals after the 1987 showdown until 1997, but the clubs have never met again in the big game. The Sea Eagles and Raiders dominated the 1995 Australian Rugby League season, finishing first and second respectively with 20-2 records. The “Sydney” Bulldogs spoilt the seemingly inevitable Sea Eagles-Raiders grand finals, beating Canberra in the preliminary final and Manly in the grand final.
Manly have the advantage form-wise over Canberra in recent seasons, having won seven of the last nine clashes. Interestingly, the Sea Eagles average 20.4 in attack over those nine games despite wining seven, so it may not be the most high scoring of games.Embed from Getty Images
The last Saturday game between these sides to be played in Canberra was in 2005. The Raiders lead the H2H on the subsequent seven Saturday games 4-3, but have won the only game at a neutral venue.
Manly have averaged 46 points per game in their last five Saturday games.
Canberra have lost their only other game in Mudgee, going down 25-18 to the Dragons in 2018.
While Canberra made the grand final in 2019, they still lost twice to the Sea Eagles in the regular season: Manly won 24-20 at Brookvale and 18-14 in Canberra.
Sea Eagles by 10
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