Andrew Pelechaty previews Canberra’s ‘sudden-death’ clash with Manly Warringah …
Canberra Raiders Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: GIO Stadium, Canberra
Date: Saturday August 27, 3:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. James Schiller 19. Ata Mariota 20. Matt Frawley 21. Trey Mooney 22. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad
Canberra have retained the same 17 from Newcastle, though Zac Woolford is named as starting hooker after coming off the bench against the Knights.Embed from Getty Images
Sea Eagles: 1. Tolutau Koula 2. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 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. Dylan Walker 14. Ben Trbojevic 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Kurt De Luis 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Kaeo Weekes 20. James Roumanos 21. Jamie Humphreys 22. Jacob Sykes
Raymond Tuaimalo Vaega will debut on the wing, in place of Alfred Smalley. Andrew Davey will play in the second row, Ethan Bullemor is 18th Man, and Toafofoa Sipley will start (with Martin Taupau on the bench).
Referee: Ashley Klein
Like Superman fighting Doomsday, Canberra are battered and barely staying in the finals race.
They produced another frustrating 40-minute performance against Newcastle: trailing 22-8 at half-time before outscoring the Knights 20-0 to win 28-22. While they got the vital two points, their performance won’t cut it against genuine finals teams. Even if they do make the finals (by beating both Manly and the Wests Tigers and hoping Brisbane lose to Parramatta or St George Illawarra), they’ll be out the door in week one if they keep playing like this.
As for Manly Warringah, the “Manly Seven” drama has caught up with them: they were monstered by Cronulla-Sutherland last weekend, losing 40-6 and conceding seven tries in 65 minutes. After making the preliminary final last year, Manly have fallen away badly, with one win since their Round 17 bye.
While Manly seemed to have clocked off, Canberra don’t have that luxury, and it’s entirely their fault (despite winning 10 of their last 14). They’ve dropped four winnable games (North Queensland at Bruce, Warriors at Redcliffe, Brisbane at Lang Park, Dragons at Wollongong) which would have seen them shooting for a top four finish.
One thing in Manly’s favour is their excellent recent record against Canberra (winning eight of their last 10, and seven from nine at Bruce) including a comprehensive 25-6 win in Round Four. For some reason, the Sea Eagles always get under Canberra’s skin, including beating them twice in 2019, before the Raiders’ fairytale grand final run.
Despite this, Canberra need to win on Sunday or their season is over (especially if Brisbane beat Parramatta on Thursday night).
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Expect another tense, grinding game: while Manly would love to put Canberra out of their misery, the Raiders will somehow find a way, simply because they have to.
Manly Warringah and Canberra dominated the Australian Rugby League Winfield Cup premiership in 1995.
The Sea Eagles and Raiders both finished with 20-2 records in the regular season, with Manly’s superior differential (+439 to +379) earning them the minor premiership, and their fiery Round 10 clash at Bruce saw Manly win 16-8.
While they should have played off in the grand final (a repeat of 1987), they were denied by the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs’ fairytale premiership run.
Briefly rebranded as the “Sydney” Bulldogs, they beat Canberra 25-6 in the preliminary final (revenge after losing the 1994 decider to the Raiders) and Manly 17-4 in the grand final.
Raiders by two.
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