Andrew Pelechaty previews the vital clash between St George Illawarra and Manly Warringah …
St George Illawarra Dragons Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium, Sydney
Date: Friday July 22, 6:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Dragons: 1. Cody Ramsey 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Mbye 4. Zac Lomax 5. Tautau Moga 6. Talatau Amone 7. Ben Hunt 8. Jack de Belin 9. Andrew McCullough 10. Blake Lawrie 11. Billy Burns 12. Jaydn Su’A 13. Jack Bird 14. Jayden Sullivan 15. Tariq Sims 16. Francis Molo 17. Josh Mcguire 18. Aaron Woods 19. Michael Molo 20. Tyrell Sloan 21. Jaiyden Hunt 22. Mathew Feagai
Moses Mbye replaces the injured Moses Suli, Tariq Sims returns from suspension, and Aaron Woods is 18th Man.Embed from Getty Images
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. Josh Aloiai 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Toafofoa Sipley 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Ben Trbojevic 19. Kurt De Luis 20. Ethan Bullemor 21. Kaeo Weekes 22. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega
Toafofoa Sipley replaces Jake Trbojevic (COVID-19), while Taniela Paseka joins the interchange bench.
Referee: Adam Gee
The Dragons have fallen back to earth since their controversial (and wet and windy) win over Canberra, losing to Brisbane (32-18) and the Sydney Roosters (54-26 – though the final margin was decieving, as the Dragons only trailed 38-26 with 15 minutes left) to sit in 11th, one win behind the eighth-placed Sea Eagles.
Manly have rebounded from their fadeout against North Queensland, beating Melbourne (36-30) and smashing Newcastle (42-12).
After playing the Dragons, Roosters, and Parramatta, Manly run home with the Gold Coast, Cronulla-Sutherland, Canberra (who they have dominated recently), and Canterbury-Bankstown. They’ll fancy winning at least half of those games.
The Dragons have a tougher run home: Manly, North Queensland, Sharks, Raiders, Titans, Wests Tigers, and Brisbane. A loss to Manly could put the Dragons in the dreaded “mathematical chance” territory (basically a death warrant for your season).
Manly will be favourites on current form and should win here (to celebrate their 1996 ARL premiership and Martin Taupau’s 150th Manly game), though the Dragons should be competitive.Embed from Getty Images
While it’s a Dragons home game, this match will commemorate Manly’s 1996 ARL Grand Final win, with the Sea Eagles wearing a retro Pepsi Max strip. Manly won the 1996 decider 20-8 (tries to Craig Innes, Steve Menzies, and Danny Moore).
While Manly joined Brisbane and Canberra as ’90s powerhouses, 1996 was their only success, losing to the “Sydney Bulldogs” in the 1995 ARL Grand Final (despite winning the minor premiership with an absurd 20-2 record – edging out the 20-2 Raiders on points differential) and the Newcastle Knights in the classic 1997 ARL Grand Final. The ’97 decider was Manly’s last chance at glory before the disastrous Northern Eagles merger, though they won two premierships (2008, 2011) after returning as the standalone Sea Eagles.
The 1996 decider was the Dragons’ last as a stand-alone club, and their third in the ’90s (previously losing to the Broncos in 1992/93); though they would make the grand final in 1999 as St George Illawarra, controversially losing to the Melbourne Storm.
Sea Eagles by 10.
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