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Sea Eagles v Eels Preview

Discussion in 'Rugby League Forum' started by Berkeley_Eagle, Jul 16, 2008.

  1. Berkeley_Eagle

    Berkeley_Eagle Current Status: 24/7 Manly Fan

    +2,125 /14
    Sea Eagles v Eels Preview
    Brookvale Oval
    Friday 7.35pm


    ONE of rugby league’s great grudge matches loses a bit of spark given the Eels below-average form and the Sea Eagles’ position as high-flying table-toppers.

    But that’s countered somewhat given each remaining game looms as D-Day for Parramatta’s finals chances for 2008 – 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 they’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 isn’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 can’t even blame injuries – 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.

    It’s a breakthrough game for them – a victory would mean it’s the first time since 1997 they’ve strung together seven wins in a row.

    Depending on other results, a win by the Eels could see them nudge eighth place – 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 – 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 – 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 can’t get a look in. 

    Where it will be won:
    Placing pressure on the defence. Manly’s credentials speak for themselves – 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 Hindmarsh’s lead (53 tackles last week) if they are to be competitive.

    With Mateo injured it’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 he’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 they’re a chance – especially at Brookvale. 

    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: It’s hard to pick against the Sea Eagles, especially at home.

    But given the environment leading up to the clash – a smarting Parramatta and the possibility of complacency after their dominant win over the Sharks – it’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 – 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 Hayne’s interpretation of ‘markers square’.

    It’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 – Shayne Hayne; Sideline Officials – Bernard Sutton & Steve Chiddy; Video ref – Chris Ward.

    Channel 9 – Live 7.30pm (NSW), delayed 9.30pm Qld; Fox Sports 2 – Delayed 11.30pm.
  2. Nutzcraw

    Nutzcraw Active Member

    +4 /0
    Bring em on!!
  3. DSM5

    DSM5 Well-Known Member

    +516 /0
    I predict an easy win here. Pressure Finch and the backline will fall apart.  There forwards are ordinary and a little disinterested.  We beat them at parra when we had no bench and we'll beat them again, only this time by more.
  4. eagle_predator

    eagle_predator Active Member

    +0 /0
    I hope we go over the top of them like a runner away steam roller  ;D
  5. Matabele

    Matabele Well-Known Member

    +516 /14
    I'd like to win by 60 - just to put a bullet in their head.
  6. Jatz Crackers

    Jatz Crackers Moderator Staff Member

    +1,476 /8
    There will be a great waling and nashing of teeth in that wastelend called parra come Saturday.

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