Sea Eagles v Eels Preview NRL.com Brookvale Oval Friday 7.35pm http://nrl.com/News/Latest/tabid/10244/default.aspx?id=51978 ONE of rugby leagueÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s great grudge matches loses a bit of spark given the Eels below-average form and the Sea EaglesÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ position as high-flying table-toppers. But thatÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s countered somewhat given each remaining game looms as D-Day for ParramattaÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s finals chances for 2008 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ especially after their soft defeat at the hands of the Bunnies last week. Manly will be mindful it was their brave victory over the Eels in round 6 that really kick-started their season. Prior to that they had just two wins from their five games; since then theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve had 10 wins and just one loss (by two points, to the Dragons) to assert themselves as true competition favourites. Meanwhile the Eels are like an F1 car with engine problems none of the mechanics really know how to fix. The parts all appear functional but as a unit the motor isnÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t firing on all cylinders. After stringing back-to-back wins over the Raiders and Wests Tigers, then falling narrowly to the Sharks at Cronulla, everyone thought they were back on track. But an unconvincing two-point win over the Origin-depleted Storm, followed by weak losses to the Panthers and Rabbitohs, has the alarm bells ringing loudly. They canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t even blame injuries ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ although their chances in this game nosedive with the unavailability of major strike weapon Feleti Mateo with a minor knee strain; under-20s player Kristopher Keating will wear the no. 6. Elsewhere, Fuifui Moimoi will start at prop with Josh Cordoba shifting to the bench. Meanwhile Manly confirmed they are the NRL benchmark with a 34-6 demolition of the Sharks at Cronulla last week. Injuries remain kind; they have just lock Luke Williamson on the extended casualty list until round 23. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s a breakthrough game for them ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ a victory would mean itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s the first time since 1997 theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ve strung together seven wins in a row. Depending on other results, a win by the Eels could see them nudge eighth place ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ while a loss could see them plummet as low as 13th (on the same points as the Bunnies!). Watch out Sea Eagles: Des Hasler will be telling his troops to keep close tabs on Brett Finch, whose stats in an under-performing side are very good indeed. Finch is currently ranked second in the NRL for line break assists with 13. But closer examination reveals 11 of those have come off beautiful, select passes ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ that number ranks him the best in the comp at putting men through holes. Manly need to be wary of this, especially close to their line. Although they have been solid to date it has proven to be a weak region in the past and they can ill afford to lapse here. Watch out Eels: Manly have prolific try-scorers all round the park ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ in fact even prop Josh Perry has bagged two! But their real power lies in their back three, with fullback Brett Stewart nabbing 11 tries from 13 games (third in the comp), winger Michael Robertson 10 from 16 (fourth in the comp) and rookie winger David Williams an impressive six from nine games. Williams got his chance when injury struck boom flanker Michael Bani; now recovered, Bani canÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢t get a look in.Â Where it will be won: Placing pressure on the defence. ManlyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s credentials speak for themselves ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ they have the best defence in the NRL, leaking just 12.7 points a game. This is a whopping 10.2 points a game less than the Eels, who will really need to follow Nathan HindmarshÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s lead (53 tackles last week) if they are to be competitive. With Mateo injured itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s unlikely Manly will have to counter a great deal of second-phase play (with 52 offloads Mateo is the benchmark in the NRL). Instead, Eels coach Michael Hagan is likely to have drawn up a basic battle plan, with instructions for the forwards to get the team rolling downfield. Here heÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢ll depend on captain Nathan Cayless (averaging 122 metres a game) as well as more input from Fuifui Moimoi (averaging 112 metres). Field position will be crucial for them if theyÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢re a chance ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ especially at Brookvale.Â The History: Played 120; Sea Eagles 74, Eels 42, drawn 4. Honours are shared four games apiece from the past eight clashes although the home side have won three of the past four, including a heroic 20-16 win at Parramatta Stadium in round 6. Conclusion: ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s hard to pick against the Sea Eagles, especially at home. But given the environment leading up to the clash ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ a smarting Parramatta and the possibility of complacency after their dominant win over the Sharks ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ itÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s not a game they should be taking lightly. While they have a good but not spectacular record at home in 2008 (six wins, two losses) their discipline is letting them down. At the moment they have conceded more penalties than any other side (122). Meanwhile their opponents are the second-best behaved with just 88 penalties conceded. This will not have been lost on Michael Hagan ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ expect plenty of rushes from dummy-half, including greater effort from Mark Riddell (averaging just 51 metres a game) in an attempt to test referee Shayne HayneÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s interpretation of ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã‹Âœmarkers squareÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢. ItÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â„Â¢s been a source of plenty of soft penalties throughout the competition over the past month and Hagan knows any advantage is welcome. Should be an exciting contest. Match officials: Referee ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Shayne Hayne; Sideline Officials ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Bernard Sutton & Steve Chiddy; Video ref ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Chris Ward. Televised: Channel 9 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Live 7.30pm (NSW), delayed 9.30pm Qld; Fox Sports 2 ÃƒÂ¢Ã¢Â‚Â¬Ã¢Â€Âœ Delayed 11.30pm.