Andrew Pelechaty previews the Friday night clash between two traditional Sydney rivals …
Parramatta Eels Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: Commbank Stadium, Parramatta
Date: Friday May 20, 7:55pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Hayze Perham 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Ryan Matterson 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Marata Niukore 16. Oregon Kaufusi 17. Nathan Brown 18. Wiremu Greig 19. Jakob Arthur 20. Mitch Rein 21. Bryce Cartwright 22. Sean Russell 23. Elie El Zakhem 24. Maika Sivo
Marata Niukore returns from injury, with Bryce Cartwright to the Extended Bench, along with Maika Sivo. Ryan Matterson starts at lock.Embed from Getty Images
Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Sean Keppie 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Kurt De Luis 20. Kaeo Weekes 21. Jamie Humphreys 22. Alec Tuitavake 23. Zac Fulton 24. Jacob Sykes
Ben Trbojevic is out with a shoulder injury and is replaced by Morgan Harper. Josh Schuster is back from a calf injury on the bench; Andrew Davey goes into the starting side.
Referee: Todd Smith
This is a big clash between two top eight hopefuls who haven’t quite hit their stride yet.
After a reasonable 5-4 start to the season, Manly Warringah got a rude shock in Magic Round. Playing a ”home” game against Brisbane at Lang Park, the Sea Eagles were thrashed by the “away” side, 38-0. It even eclipsed the Broncos’ famous 44-10 win at Lang Park in 1988.
The Sea Eagles barely fired a shot, conceding six tries. It was the first time they’d been held scoreless since 2013, when they lost the qualifying final 4-0 to the Sydney Roosters.
Parramatta have had an inconsistent 2022: they’ve beaten the top two teams (Melbourne and Penrith), smashed the St George Illawarra Dragons and Newcastle, lost by a point to the Wests Tigers, and were belted by North Queensland in Darwin.
They lost 31-24 to the Sydney Roosters in Magic Round. The Eastern Suburbs club led 25-6 early in the second half, before Isaiah Papali’i (his second try), Mitchell Moses, and Ryan Matterson got the Eels within a point with 23 minutes left. Joseph Suaalii’s second try, and a Sam Walker penalty goal, sealed the win for the Roosters.
While it’s only round 11, this game could decide who’s best placed to go deep in September. With a number of key players leaving in 2023 (including Oregon Kaufusi, Isaiah Papali’i, Reed Mahoney, Ray Stone, and Marata Niukore), 2022 might be the Eels’ biggest chance to win their first premiership since 1986. A win against Manly will keep the Eels in touch of a vital top-four finish.
As for Manly, their performance against Parramatta will say a lot about their state of mind after the Broncos loss: while they were electric at times in 2021, they struggled against the better teams, a trend they’ve continued this season with losses to Penrith, the Roosters, a then in-form Cronulla-Sutherland, and South Sydney. Beating Parramatta will give them a massive confidence boost, especially if Turbo finds form again.
Both sets of fans will remember the controversial Round 4, 2020 clash: Parramatta won 19-16, with Reuben Garrick incorrectly denied the winning try through a forward pass, and NRL Head of Football Graham Annesley quickly admitted the call was wrong. The win was enough for Parramatta to finish in the top four (despite a fast-finishing Canberra’s best efforts to overtake them), while Manly slumped to 13th.
Based on their 2022 form, the Eels – erratic as they are – should have enough class to win infront of their home fans.Embed from Getty Images
Parramatta and Manly were heated rivals in the ’70s and ’80s, playing in three grand finals in eight years: 1976, 1982, and 1983.
Manly won in ‘76, while the Eels capped off their premiership hat-trick in ’82 and ’83.
1976: Manly Warringah 13 (Tries: Lowe. Goals: Eadie 5/6) def Parramatta 10 (Tries: Porter, Gerard. Goals: Peard 2/3)
1982: Parramatta 21 (Tries: Kenny 2, Ella, Grothe, Hunt. Goals: Cronin 3/5.) def Manly Warringah 8 (Tries: P Blake, Boyd. Goal: Eadie 1/2.)
1983: Parramatta 18 (Tries: Kenny 2, Grothe; Goals: Cronin 3) def Manly Warringah 6 (Tries: Sigsworth; Goals: Eadie)
Eels by six.
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