2023 NRL Preview Round 8: Tigers Vs Sea Eagles

Andrew Pelechaty previews the Sunday afternoon clash between the Wests Tigers and Manly Warringah Sea Eagles.



Wests Tigers Vs Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
Venue: Campbelltown Sports Stadium, Sydney
Date: Sunday April 23, 4:05pm


Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. Charlie Staines 3. Starford To’a 4. Asu Kepaoa 5. Junior Tupou 6. Brandon Wakeham 7. Luke Brooks 8. Stefano Utoikamanu 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. John Bateman 13. Fonua Pole 14. Daine Laurie 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Alex Twal 17. Tommy Talau 18. Alex Seyfarth 19. Shawn Blore 20. Justin Matamua 21. David Nofoaluma 22. Jake Simpkin

Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ethan Bullemor 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Samuela Fainu 15. Sean Keppie 16. Aaron Woods 17. Toafofoa Sipley 18. Cooper Johns 19. Kaeo Weekes 20. Ben Condon 21. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 22. Christian Tuipulotu

Referee: Todd Smith

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This clash sees two of the 2022 strugglers who’ve had contrasting 2023 seasons so far.

After falling away badly last year, Manly – with new coach Anthony Seibold – have responded. They beat Canterbury-Bankstown, Parramatta, narrowly lost to Souths, and drew with Newcastle. While they were thumped by Penrith on Easter Saturday, they minimised the damage to 44-12 after trailing 32-0 at half-time. But the way they responded from the Panthers loss was heartening: playing Melbourne in another fiery ‘Battle of Brookvale’, they outscored the Storm two tries to one (Tom Trbojevic and Lachlan Croker). Daly Cherry-Evans had a great night with the boot, kicking five from six. While Melbourne haven’t been anywhere near their best, it was still an impressive win and would have given Sea Eagles fans some hope.

The winless Tigers finally got a break from the weekly drama with their first bye, and they showed some improvement in their Easter Monday loss to the Eels. Trailing 22-6 early in the second half, the Tigers scored through Asu Kepaoa, Brent Naden, and Junior Tupou to get within two with nine minutes left. But a Charlie Staines error off a goal-line drop-out gave Parramatta a sniff, which Maika Sivo took with his second try of the day. More heartbreak for the poor Tigers fans, but the fight was encouraging.

While Manly will be confident heading to Campbelltown, can the Tigers continue their fight and somehow spring an upset? Will the weekend off freshen them up, and how will the tough game against Melbourne impact Manly?

The Tigers lost all three games at Campbelltown last year, including a 30-4 loss to Manly. While the last 10 matches are split 5-5, Manly have won four straight, including a 40-6 pummelling on Anzac Day 2021.

There’s a big blow for the Tigers, with Adam Doueihi out for the season – Brandon Wakeham takes his place. Asu Kepaoa replaces Brent Naden, while Tommy Talau returns from a facial injury.

Josh Schuster and Reuben Garrick both return for Manly. Ethan Bullemor replaces Kelma Tuilagi (concussion protocols).

Manly should win this comfortably. Aside from the Penrith loss, they’ve been in every game so far and have some big games ahead before their second bye: Gold Coast at Brooky, their “home” Magic Round game against Brisbane, Cronulla-Sutherland at Brooky, Canberra at Bruce (last year’s thrashing aside, Manly have been the Raiders’ bogey side), and Newcastle in Newcastle.

While the Tigers should be competitive, they’ll have to wait another week for their first win.


Sea Eagles 5, Tigers 5.


Sea Eagles by 10 points.

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