2023 NRL Preview Round 16: Eels Vs Sea Eagles

Dylan Jhugroo previews a cracking Round 16 clash between the Parramatta Eels and the Manly Sea Eagles.



Parramatta Eels v Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Date: Saturday June 17, 5:30pm.


Eels: 1. Clint Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Will Penisini 4. Bailey Simonsson 5. Sean Russell 6. Ryan Matterson 7. Daejarn Asi 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Brendan Hands 10. Ofahiki Ogden 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Andrew Davey 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Luca Moretti 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Matt Doorey 17. Makahesi Makatoa 18. Haze Dunster 19. Jack Murchie 20. Ky Rodwell 21. Waqa Blake 22. Shaun Lane

Sea Eagles: 1. Kaeo Weekes 2. Jason Saab 3. Tolutau Koula 4. Reuben Garrick 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Josh Schuster 7. Jakob Arthur 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Samuela Fainu 13. Sean Keppie 14. Karl Lawton 15. Josh Aloiai 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Ben Condon 18. Aaron Woods 19. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 20. Morgan Harper 21. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 22. Zac Fulton

Referee: Chris Butler

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Here we go again, it’s Manly and Parra. Although the classic Tooheys ad from 1984 portrayed a match that wasn’t nearly as Origin-affected as this one.

Parramatta will be without stars Mitchell Moses and Junior Paulo after the pair were called up to the Blues squad for Game II. Recruit Daejarn Asi is the man to replace Moses after making his club debut on the King’s birthday, and Ofahiki Ogden moves into the front row given the long-term injury to Wiremu Greig. The surprise selection comes due to Dylan Brown’s ongoing off-field issue, and Jake Arthur’s recent departure (more on him later), with backrower Ryan Matterson selected at five-eighth for only the second time since departing the Roosters in 2018. Fellow Tiger-turned-Eel Joe Ofahengaue makes his return on the bench, while Josh Hodgson remains sidelined due to a neck injury.

Meanwhile, the Sea Eagles soared last week in a dominant 58-18 victory over the Dolphins but face the task of doing it again this week without Daly Cherry-Evans and Tom Trbojevic. Gun youngster Kaeo Weeks comes in at fullback for his ninth appearance this season, while Anthony Seibold has selected a mid-season recruit from Parramatta, and the son of their head coach, to lead the team around at halfback. The dinners in the Arthur household this week are going to be frostier than an 8pm game at GIO stadium, but that’s why we love Rugby League.

With both sides lacking experience in their spines, the coaches are likely to try and get early ball to their edges and outside backs and look to individual brilliance in attack to get their teams over the line. Backrower Shaun Lane is ominously named in jersey number twenty-two this week and could change the outlook of this game completely if he can make his return.

KEY STAT: Despite both lining up at five-eighth this week, both Ryan Matterson and Josh Schuster have played substantially more NRL in the second-row than they have in the halves. With both playing alongside relatively inexperienced halfbacks, this game could be anything.


Parramatta 5, Manly-Warringah 5.


Sea Eagles by 1 point.

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