MATCH PREVIEW | Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v St. George-Illawarra Dragons

Shannon Meyer previews Manly’s Sunday afternoon home game against the St. George-Illawarra Dragons.


Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

Manly stopped a two-game losing streak in Townsville last weekend, piping the Cowboys 22-20 to maintain their top eight status. They sit seventh on the ladder, and are the last team with a positive points difference.

The Sea Eagles can look back on their season and be happy with their current standing, as they have been hit with key injuries to their star players.

Their home form is hot and cold at 4-3, and they have lost their last two at Brookvale. The most recent loss to the Titans was not only surprising, but their heaviest loss this year.

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St. George-Illawarra Dragons

St George-Illawarra are currently outside the top eight, but are nested in with another seven teams (from Manly in 7th to the Cowboys in 13th) seperated by just two points. With similarly-placed teams the Broncos and Eels on the same points and better for-and-against, even a win won’t help the Dragons into the top eight this weekend.

The Dragons broke a five-game losing streak last weekend against the Bulldogs; coincidentally the last win for the Dragons before that was in round six against Manly.

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Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles

No need for Des Hasler to change his winning side from the previous week.

Tom Trbojevic’s return last weekend was a big boost, and the Sea Eagles star has had a week under his belt, so should be even closer to his usual dynamic self this weekend. A potential NSW berth awaits. The Sunday afternoon kick off also provides some relief for the State of Origin stars, as Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans get a decent rest.

Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles squad:

1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Dylan Walker 4. Moses Suli 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Cade Cust 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Manase Fainu 15. Jack Gosiewski 16. Morgan Boyle 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Brendan Elliot 19. Kane Elgey 20. Haumole Olakau’atu 21. Lloyd Perrett

St. George-Illawarra Dragons

After a big win over the Bulldogs on Queen’s Birthday Monday, the Dragons also don’t feel the need to change their 17 either.

A minor swap of positions in the back row are all the alterations for this weekend.

St. George-Illawarra Dragons squad:

1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Corey Norman 7. Ben Hunt 8. Blake Lawrie 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Paul Vaughan 11. Jacob Host 12. Tariq Sims 13. Tyson Frizell 14. Jeremy Latimore 15. Reece Robson 16. Korbin Sims 17. Jai Field 18. Luciano Leilua 19. Jordan Pereira 20. Josh Kerr 21. Lachlan Timm


The St. George-Illawarra Dragons have already beaten Manly this season (12-10 on April 20), which continues their dominance over the Sea Eagles since 1998. The Dragons have won 78% of clashes between the two sides since the Dragons-Steelers merger.

The Dragons have won the last four day games between the sides, by an average margin of 28 points. Those who like high-scoring games will be happy to know the average total points in day games between them is 51.5 points.

Manly’s record improves to 54% at home to St. George-Illawarra at Brookvale, but they did lose the last game at home 35-10. Prior to that they had won five of six at home to the Dragons.


The easy key battle to point out here are the two Queensland State of Origin stars: Cherry-Evans and Ben Hunt. Hunt was great last weekend against the Bulldogs. Backing up after Origin, the Queensland hooker was a busy man: a line break, line break assist, a try and try assist, a few tackle busts, 100 metres of runs and 20 tackles. Cherry-Evans wasn’t as dynamic, but he was returning from Origin and an injury.

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Aside from the silky skills, a key battle for the Dragons will be containing arguably the best prop in the NRL this season: Martin Taupau. The prop – who recently changed his international allegiance from New Zealand to Samoa – has been Manly’s best contributor every week. He leads the NRL players stats for forwards in both runs and run metres so far in 2019. His partner up front Addin Fonua-Blake has been no slouch either. If the Dragons can keep these two quiet, it allows Hunt and Corey Norman room to work their magic and maintain the Dragons’ dominance in this fixture.

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Date: Sunday 16th June
Venue: Lottoland
Kick-off: 2pm
Referee: Chris Sutton, Phil Henderson


Recent records between these sides leans one to pick the St. George-Illawarra Dragons, but too many times this year the Sea Eagles tough out a win you wouldn’t expect, and now they are almost at full strength. It will hopefully be a game of attacking rugby league with plenty of points, as per previous day time clashes. Given the Trbojevic factor, a Manly win looks likely. Perhaps a late try to the fullback himself to seal it 28-24.

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Manly by four.


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