Jem Nash previews the Friday night battle between the Manly Sea Eagles and the North Queensland Cowboys.
Manly Sea Eagles Vs North Queensland Cowboys
Venue: 4 Pines Park
Date: Friday June 17, 6:00pm AEST
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Se Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Sean Keppie 18. Taniela Paseka 19. Ben Trbojevic 20. Ethan Bullemor 21. Kaeo Weekes 22. Kurt De Luis
Daly Cherry-Evans returns after missing last week’s game against the Tigers with a quad injury, with Kieran Foran shifting back to five-eighth and Josh Schuster starting from the bench. Ben Trbojevic is the player to miss out, being named in the reserves.Embed from Getty Images
Cowboys: 1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow 3. Valentine Holmes 4. Peta Hiku 5. Murray Taulagi 6. Tom Dearden 7. Chad Townsend 8. Jordan McLean 9. Reece Robson 10. Reuben Cotter 11. Connelly Lemuelu 12. Jeremiah Nanai 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Jake Granville 15. Coen Hess 16. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown 17. Griffin Neame 18. Ben Condon 19. Brendan Elliot 20. Kane Bradley 23. Ben Hampton 24. Robert Derby
Origin representatives Reuben Cotter and Jeremiah Nanai are back on deck this week, with Coen Hess reverting back to the bench and Nanai replacing Tom Gilbert who is out with an eye injury. Young gun Heilum Luki is out for the season after suffering a torn ACL, so Connelly Lemuelu comes into the starting side.
Referee: Gerard Sutton
Both sides come into this clash on the back of wins last week. The Sea Eagles cruised to an easy 30-4 win over the Tigers, and despite the loss of Tom Trbojevic, they sit just outside the top eight with Reuben Garrick proving a handy replacement at fullback. They face a much tougher test this week against a Cowboys team who proved far too strong for the Dragons a week ago. The Cowboys have won five from seven matches away from home this season so a trip to the Northern Beaches shouldn’t faze them.
The key to the Cowboys remarkable turnaround this year has been their defence, which ranks second in the competition behind only the Panthers. For the most part it’s been a well balanced attack for Manly, with Cherry-Evans and Foran amassing eight try assists apiece, and they’ll need those two working well together if they want to crack the Cowboys line. If Garrick can back up his impressive performance last week (206 metres, 7 tackle breaks, 1 try, 1 try assist, 1 line break, 1 line break assist) and Haumole Olakau’atu can continue to wreak some havoc on the edges, they’re in with a great chance.
Jason Taumalolo against Jake Trbojevic will be a great battle to watch through the middle of the field; the heart and sould of their respective teams. Taumalolo was back to his devastating best against the Dragons with over 200 metres and four tackle breaks, but it was his ball playing that particular impressed. Trbojevic was his usual hard working, reliable self in a showing that would’ve done his Origin hopes no disservice. The two lock forwards bring different things to the table but both players are incredibly important to their side.Embed from Getty Images
Not only do the Cowboys have the second best defensive record in the competition, they have conceded a total of just 48 second half points through 14 games.
Cowboys by 6
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