The Sea Eagles suffered an unexpected defeat against a depleted Bulldogs outfit, that through Origin commitments and injury were without several of the key players, 23 – 16 last week at ANZ Stadium.
Manly started a short-priced favourite for the contest given that when the sides last met in round 13 at Brookvale, Manly comfortably defeated a stronger Bulldogs line-up, 32 – 10.
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It continued poor form away from Brookvale for Manly, having registered only two wins from their six away games so far this season. With Manly spending the majority of the rest of the season on the road, six of their final eight games are away, it’s a factor the Sea Eagles will have to remedy quickly if they are to remain in the top four.
Thankfully for this match, the Sea Eagles return to Brookvale where they have won all bar one game this year – the season opener – and will also welcome back halfback Daly Cherry Evans who’ll back-up from Wednesday night’s origin.
Also returning after missing last week’s clash is Jorge Taufua who together with Cherry-Evans, have been instrumental to Manly’s attack in recent weeks.
The Tigers continued their win/loss sequence for the seventh week in a row last Sunday, falling to a 26 – 10 defeat at the hands of competition front-runners Penrith.
The Tigers had the support of a capacity Sunday afternoon crowd at Leichhardt Oval but without Origin stars Robbie Farrah and Aaron Woods, along with Fullback James Tedesco, were unable to match it with the in-form Panthers.
It’s a quick turn around for the Tigers and for Farrah and Woods who have been named in the run in side after Wednesday night’s Origin.
Tedesco is still out of action as will be regular five-eight Braith Anasta with his spot being taken by Blake Austin.
The Tigers need to start stringing some wins together but the weeks ahead are not kind to them given that they face Canterbury, an improving Dragons outfit, Melbourne and then the Cowboys in Townsville.
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HEAD TO HEAD
When these teams last met in round five of this year, the Tigers thumped the Sea Eagles at Leichhardt Oval 34 – 18.
It was the Tigers’ first win over Manly in four outings but with this game being at Brookvale, where the Tigers haven’t won in five visits since 2004, the Tigers may struggle as Manly look to redeem themselves after last week’s defeat.
After away losses to Melbourne and a heavy defeat at the hands of Brisbane, Manly have been able to immediately bounce back and would expect that to be the case here as well.
MANLY: Brett Stewart, Jorge Taufua, Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai, Peta Hiku, Kieran Foran, Daly Cherry-Evans, Josh Starling, Matt Ballin, Brenton Lawrence, Jamie Buhrer, Justin Horo, Dunamis Lui. Interchange: Jesse Sene-Lefao, James Hasson, Tom Symonds, Jason King.
TIGERS: Mitchell Moses, David Nofoaluma, Keith Lulia, Chris Lawrence, Pat Richards, Blake Austin, Luke Brooks, Aaron Woods, Robbie Farah (c), Keith Galloway, Curtis Sironen, Dene Halatau, Adam Blair. Interchange: Matthew Lodge, Martin Taupau, Ava Seumanufagai, James Gavet.