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2022 NRL Round 18 Preview, Sea Eagles Vs Knights

Lachy MacCorquodale previews the Saturday evening clash between the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles and the Newcastle Knights.

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MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Vs Newcastle Knights
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Date: Saturday 16th July, 5:30pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Sea Eagles: 1. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Sean Keppie 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. Taniela Paseka 18. Josh Aloiai 19. Ben Trbojevic 20. Ethan Bullemor 21. Kurt De Luis 22. Kaeo Weekes

The Sea Eagles will enter this clash with the same seventeen that defeated the Storm as Cherry-Evans and Trbojevic are set to back up after an Origin decider on Wednesday night.

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Knights: 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Dane Gagai 4. Enari Tuala 5. Dominic Young 6. Anthony Milford 7. Adam Clune 8. David Klemmer 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Kurt Mann 14. Simi Sasagi 15. Jacob Saifiti 16. Pasami Saulo 17. Brodie Jones 18. Leo Thompson 19. Chris Randall 20. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 21. Hymel Hunt 22. Jake Clifford

The Knights gain a boost with Kalyn Ponga, Jacob Saifiti and Dane Gagai being named after missing last week’s match due to Origin duties. Jayden Brailey has also been named to start at dummy-half with Chris Randall dropping to the reserves. Simi Sasagi and Brodie Jones join the bench at Leo Thompson and Mat Croker’s expense. Unfortunately, Bradman Best is out again after suffering an injury to his thumb over the weekend.

Referee: Gerard Sutton

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

Following a well earnt break, after dismantling the Melbourne Storm the week prior, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles prepare to hold onto their spot in the top eight as they host the 12th placed Newcastle Knights this Saturday. The Sea Eagles are in some solid form at the moment, having won three of their last four games, the only loss coming at the hands of the North Queensland Cowboys, a game which they definitely could’ve walked away as victors if not for an incredible late comeback by the Cowboys. That’s two games in a row that have seen the Sea Eagles concede multiple tries during the last 10 minutes of a match. They conceded three tries after the 70th minute mark against the Cowboys and conceded another four against the Storm, something which cannot continue if the Sea Eagles wish to remain in the top eight. They’ll be well rested after their bye last weekend, so there is no excuse for it to happen a third time. You can guarantee Des Hasler, Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans shared their displeasure with the endings to both of those games.

However, the Sea Eagles should be feeling confident. They were elite against the Storm prior to those final 10 minutes, where they tore apart the defending minor premiers defence. There’s no reason they couldn’t do the same against the Knights, who have struggled defensively this season, being one of five teams in the competition that have conceded more than 400 points this season. Manly boast some weapons on attack including the likes of Haumole Olakau’atu and Tolutau Koula who, if given the right ball from the Sea Eagles’ halves, could run amok against the Knights, just like they did against Melbourne. Cherry-Evans is the key to this and some of his elite pass selection was on show in their victory over the Storm.

Meanwhile, the Knights were humbled by the South Sydney Rabbitohs over the weekend after an emphatic victory over the Gold Coast Titans just the week before. Edrick Lee scored an incredible five tries in that clash and only managed to get on the scoreboard once in their 12-point loss to the Rabbitohs. On a positive note for Newcastle, they’re on the best attacking streak of their season, having scored 84 points over the past three weekends their best three week stretch of the season. This is a vast improvement from their attack earlier in the season which, between Rounds 4-8 produced a measly 26 points. Their defence is still an issue, having conceded 20 or more points on four of their past six outings. In fact, in their outing against the Sea Eagles earlier in the season, the Knights coughed up 30 points as they lost by 24 in a fairly one-sided game. They’ll be after revenge for that loss and a win could bring the Knights to within two wins of eighth spot, which is currently resided by Manly.

The Knights discipline will need to improve if they’re in search of a top eight spot. 10 errors and seven penalties haunted the Knights on the weekend as they failed to prevent the Rabbitohs from gaining easy entry into their red zone. They sit sixth in the NRL for penalties conceded with a round 100, just over six penalties per game. The Knights need to get on the board early on Saturday evening, after Manly’s great starts to their last two fixtures. If they can’t, they could be staring down the barrel of another defeat.

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INTERESTING FACT

The recent history between these two sides is fairly even with the Newcastle Knights having won five of their previous eight meetings with the Sea Eagles. However, prior to 2018, the Knights hadn’t beaten the Sea Eagles since 2012. The Knights had beaten the Sea Eagles in three straight games prior to the 26-point victory by the Sea Eagles earlier in the season.

Manly have a fantastic record at 4 Pine Park and that extends to this season. The Sea Eagles have won five of their six matches at their home venue this season and have won seven of their 11 matches at the venue since the beginning of the 2021 season. On the other hand, the Knights have a shocking overall record at 4 Pine Parks, having only won four games there since their introduction into the competition in 1988. It took them 10 years to win their first game at the venue, another eight to win their second and another 12 to win their third. They only won three of 19 matches played from 1988 to 2018. However, they have won two of their last three matches in Brookvale, dating back to the 2018 season.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles by 14 points.

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