Manly Sea Eagles vs Parramatta Eels: Lineups, preview and predictions

Brookvale Oval, Sunday 18th March, 4:10 pm AEDT.


Overview

Sunday afternoon football returns to Brookvale Oval for the first time this year and how good is it to see blockbuster matchups at suburban grounds! After a series of fantastic crowds over the opening weekend, the Eels vs. Sea Eagles match offers yet another opportunity for a full house – No doubt, the Manly faithful will be out in force to pack the Brookie hill. 

Both these sides entered Round 1 with plenty of promise and yet neither did enough to notch their first win. Manly put in a solid showing against a new look Newcastle Knights and would have felt stiff not to come away with something from their golden point clash. For Parramatta, what started as a promising Sunday outing against the Panthers, quickly turned into an afternoon to forget as they surrendered a big halftime lead.  Both sides possess genuine attacking talent and the likes of Trbojevic, Hayne, French, and Uate, should ensure this matchup is an absolute try-fest.

Recent meetings

2017 – Rd 1  – Parramatta 20 def. Manly 12  at Brookvale Oval

2016 – Rd 22 – Parramatta 10 def. Manly 9 at Parramatta Stadium

2016 – Rd 7 – Parramatta 22 def. Manly 10 at Brookvale Oval

2014 – Rd 24 – Parramatta 20 def. Manly 16 at Brookvale Oval

2015 – Rd 1 – Parramatta 42 def. Manly 12 at Parramatta Stadium

This clash has historically been a close affair with four of the last five meetings decided by two tries or fewer. It’s Paramatta who have the recent ascendency over their bitter rivals. The last time Manly got one up over the Eels was all the way back in Round 3, 2014. 

Selected teams


Manly Sea EaglesParramatta Eels
1Tom TrbojevicBevan French
2Jorge TaufuaJosh Hoffman
3Brad ParkerMichael Jennings
4Brian KellyJarryd Hayne
5Akuila UateKirisome Auva’a
6Lachlan CrokerCorey Norman
7Daly Cherry-Evans (C)Mitch Moses
8Addin Fonua-BlakeTim Mannah (C)
9Apisai KoroisauCameron King
10Martin TaupauDaniel Alvaro
11Joel ThompsonManu Ma’u
12Curtis SironenTepai Moeroa
13Jake TrbojevicNathan Brown
Interchange
14Jackson HastingsBeau Scott (C)
15Shaun LaneBrad Takairangi
16Lloyd PerrettSuaia Matagi
17Kelepi TanginoaKane Evans
Reserves
18Matthew WrightWilliam Smith
19Lewis BrownKenneth Edwards
20Jack GosiewskiDavid Gower
21Frank WintersteinKaysa Pritchard

The facts that matter

Sea Eagles

With the departure of five-eighth Blake Green to the Warriors, Manly are banking on rookie half Lachlan Croker firing them to a finals appearance in Season 2018. Croker had a mixed bag against the Knights in Round 1, producing five errors in what was a modest performance. Should Croker fail to gel with halves partner Daly Cherry-Evans, it won’t be long before coach Trent-Barrett looks elsewhere.  Curtis Sironen trained at five-eighth during the pre-season, while Tom Trbojevic has also deputized in the halves leaving Manly plenty of options for the number six jersey. With only a handful of games to his name, it will take time for Croker to find his feet, but a 0-2 start to the season will see pressure mount on the youngster. 

Paramatta

Last Sunday’s ‘Battle of the West’ saw Jarryd Hayne make his long-awaited NRL return for the blue and gold. While expectations were high, Hayne never really delivered, failing to make a line break or tackle bust in his 80 minutes on the field.  Up against the inexperienced Brad Parker this week, Hayne will look to make amends for a quiet opener and he may be in luck. It was Manly’s right edge that proved to be their Achilles heel last season, letting in a bulk of the 87 tries scored against them. Hayne looks primed for a big one and he’ll get no better chance than Sunday. With a dry track predicted, don’t be surprised to see the Eels centre pop up for a try or two in this one. 

18… That’s the number of unanswered points that Parramatta let in against Penrith last Sunday in what was a very tame effort. After dominating possession and having the run of play during the first half, Parramatta surrendered meekly to the Panthers in the second stanza. Parramatta’s defensive collapse wasn’t helped by the sin-binning of Mitchell Moses but even his presence wouldn’t have spared them. Coach Brad Arthur will expect a marked improvement on last week and they’ll need it against a Manly side that showed a real appetite for attack against the Knights. 

Prediction

Sunday afternoon footy returns to Brookvale Oval and it is an absolute cracker! Despite Paramatta’s recent superiority, this clash promises to be a closely fought affair. It’s hard to separate these two based on form alone. The key battle looks to be in the halves, and that’s where Parramatta have the supremacy. Cherry-Evans was ultra impressive last week against the Knights, however, his partner Croker never really got going. After quiet Round 1 performances, Corey Norman and Mitchell Moses will look to bounce back in style and should have the experience to steer Parramatta over the line. Parramatta in a close one… just. 

  1. Poll: Who wins this Sunday afternoon blockbuster?

    1. Manly to win in front of the Brookvale faithful
    2. Parramatta to get their 2018 back on track
    150 votes
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Jarrod Calabria

If you 'couldn't be prouder of the boys' or are 'glad they gave 110%' then have you come to the right place!

As a Sydney-sider and Bunnies tragic, I explore the weird and wonderful world that is Rugby League with opinion pieces, in-depth analysis and commentary. I tackle the serious and light-hearted issues facing the game to keep you up to date and informed. As Gus Gould would say, "This bloke is a Genuine Rugby League Gazelle".

When I'm not watching rugby league, I love getting out to a live match of football, cricket and AFL.

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