2023 NRL Preview Round 3: Sea Eagles Vs Eels
Nathan Smith previews the Thursday night clash between traditional rivals the Manly Sea Eagles and Parramatta Eels. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
Manly Sea Eagles Vs Parramatta Eels
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Date: Thursday 16th March, 8:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Manly Sea Eagles: 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Christian Tuipulotu 3. Brad Parker 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Josh Schuster 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Taniela Paseka 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Jake Trbojevic 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Kelma Tuilagi 13. Josh Aloiai 14. Kaeo Weekes 15. Ben Trbojevic 16. Ethan Bullemor 17. Sean Keppie 18. Toafofoa Sipley 19. Cooper Johns 20. Morgan Harper 21. Karl Lawton 22. Ben Condon
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Maika Sivo 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Waqa Blake 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Junior Paulo 11. Bryce Cartwright 12. Matt Doorey 13. J’maine Hopgood 14. Jirah Momoisea 15. Jack Murchie 16. Wiremu Greig 17. Makahesi Makatoa 18. Jakob Arthur 19. Haze Dunster 20. Ofahiki Ogden 21. Ky Rodwell 22. Isaac Lumelume
Referee: Adam GeeEmbed from Getty Images
On the calendars of either set of fans, this match is one that gets circled as soon as the draw is released. With decades of rivalry formed by the socio-economic divide between Western Sydney and the North Shore, it’s almost as if every encounter is another chapter in a never-ending novel.
The Sea Eagles are in an exciting position. After an imposing win in Round 1 against the Bulldogs, and a bye in Round 2, they find themselves on the top of the ladder. Their Round 1 match saw halfback Daly Cherry-Evans rewind the clock with a brilliant performance, demonstrating that he’s still one of the premier halves in the game. Their new starting number six, Josh Schuster, will play his first game of the year this Thursday. It’s yet to be seen how his combination with Cherry-Evans eventuates, however, one would think that their halfback will run the show, giving Schuster a licence to play what he sees.
Contrastingly, the Eels are in a dire position two games in. In Round 2, they suffered another close loss in another game they will probably think they should have won. After scoring ten points in only eight minutes, they looked like putting on a clinic, only to let the Sharks back in the game and eventually end up on the losing end of the scoreboard. Unfortunately, it was a plethora of errors from their outside backs that let their side down. A highlight was the continued stardom of J’Maine Hopgood, who is already shaping up as a buy of the year. Beyond that, both Mitchell Moses and Dylan Brown had much stronger performances in their second game of the year.
The Eels’ forwards have already shown they haven’t lost too much of a step and will be expected to put up a fight against the Sea Eagles’ impressive pack. However, if Daly-Cherry Evans can expose the Eels’ defensive frailties outside, there will be plenty of opportunities for points. The question will be as to whether the Eels’ outside backs step up and put in a performance after last week’s woes.
LAST TEN MATCHES
Sea Eagles 5, Eels 5
Eels by 2
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