NRL Preview Round 27: Sea Eagles Vs Tigers

Andrew Pelechaty previews the final game of 2023 for Manly Warringah and the Wests Tigers.



Manly Warringah Sea Eagles Vs Wests Tigers
Venue: 4 Pines Park, Sydney
Date: Friday September 1, 6:00pm


Sea Eagles: 1. Tolutau Koula 2. Jason Saab 3. Brad Parker 4. Morgan Harper 5. Ray Tuaimalo-Vaega 6. Jakob Arthur 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Toafofoa Sipley 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Sean Keppie 11. Haumole Olakau’atu 12. Ben Trbojevic 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Gordon Chan Kum Tong 15. Dean Matterson 16. Aaron Woods 17. Ethan Bullemor 18. Kelma Tuilagi 19. Josh Schuster 20. Ben Condon 21. Samuela Fainu 22. Christian Tuipulotu

Tigers: 1. Jahream Bula 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Triston Reilly 4. Josh Feledy 5. Junior Tupou 6. Daine Laurie 7. Apisai Koroisau 8. Alex Twal 9. Jake Simpkin 10. David Klemmer 11. Isaiah Papali’i 12. Shawn Blore 13. Justin Matamua 14. Asu Kepaoa 15. Kit Laulilii 16. Fonua Pole 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Tallyn Da Silva 19. Brandon Wakeham 20. Will Smith 21. Aitasi James 22. Tommy Talau

Referee: Belinda Sharpe

Embed from Getty Images


While Round 27 is full of games with finals implications, this isn’t one of them.

Both Manly Warringah and the Wests Tigers are playing for pride to close out their 2023 seasons, while Manly are celebrating Jake Trbojevic’s 200th game.

Belinda Sharpe becomes the first woman to referee an NRL premiership game under the single referee system, with Kasey Badger officiating the Canterbury-Bankstown vs Gold Coast game.

While Manly will narrowly miss the top eight (a vast improvement on last year, when they fell apart after the Pride Jersey saga), the Tigers will collect their second straight wooden spoon as a joint venture. The only way Wests can avoid it is if they win here, the Dragons lose to Newcastle, and the Dragons’ +69 points differential advantage is erased. But that complex mathematical exercise seems unlikely.

While Manly have lost their last three, they had a last-start win over Canterbury-Bankstown (42-24), while the Tigers were thumped by the Sydney Roosters – a week after beating The Dolphins to snap a 10-game losing streak. Again, the Tigers’ farcical off-field dramas have overshadowed another poor season, though having a full off-season under sole head coach Benji Marshall could give fans something to look forward to.

Just one change for Manly, with Dean Matterson coming onto the bench and Kelma Tuilagi going to 18th Man. Alex Twal (illness) and Jake Simpkin (head knock) return for Wests, with Stefano Utoikamanu and John Bateman out. Josh Feledy and Kit Laulilii make their NRL debuts.

This is the first time Manly and Wests have played in 2024, with Manly winning the last five games. Expect Manly to make it six straight here.


Sea Eagles 6, Tigers 4.


Sea Eagles by 18 points.

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