Fri, May 3, 9:19am by Rob Sheeley
Match: St George Illawarra Dragons vs Manly Sea Eagles – NRL Round 8
When/Where: 7:30pm Monday, 6 May 2013 at WIN Jubilee Oval
Get a Free $200 NRL Round 8 Bet at Centrebet.com
The Dragons will come into this game smarting from their ANZAC day loss to the Roosters. The Dragons were completely out gunned and looked lost at times. They have been afforded the rare luxury of a ten day break between games and will be itching to be back on the park. The Dragons currently sit in ninth place and are $101 to win this year’s premiership.
They face an opposition who reminded fans why they are considered one of the toughest forward packs in the NRL. Unfortunately for the Sea Eagles, they may be without one or more players through suspension. Prop Richie Fa’aoso could miss up to ten weeks for his part in two spear tackles whilst Steve Matai may also miss one week.
The Sea Eagles will be eager to put their season back on track in this match against the Dragons. Manly are currently fourth and are rated as $7 premiership hopes.
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Head to Head
Dragons – $2.60
Sea Eagles – $1.52
Dragons 1-12 – $4.10
Dragons 13+ – $5.85
Sea Eagles 1-12 – $3.10
Sea Eagles 13+ – $2.80
Dragons +5.5 – $1.91
Sea Eagles -5.5 – $1.91
• Dragons have won 4 of their last 6 against the Sea Eagles.
• The Dragons and Sea Eagles have met 20 times. Dragons have won 14, Sea Eagles 6.
• Dragons have won 12 of their last 14 at WIN Jubilee Oval.
• Manly have lost their last 6 at WIN Jubilee Oval.
The Dragons have only made one change to the top seventeen players from ANZAC day. Damien Cook comes onto the bench at the expense of Will Matthews.
Michael Weyman has been named as nineteenth man on an extended bench. It would be no surprise to see Weyman as a late inclusion for the Dragons.
1. Jason Nightingale
2. Brett Morris
3. Chase Stanley
4. Matt Cooper
5. Daniel Vidot
6. Jamie Soward
7. Nathan Fien
8. Dan Hunt
9. Mitch Rein
10. Jack Stockwell
11. Tyson Frizell
12. Ben Creagh (c)
13. Trent Merrin
14. Bronson Harrison
15. Matt Prior
16. Jack de Belin
17. Damien Cook
18. Michael Weyman
19. Will Matthews
The Dragons were given a stern reminder of the fact that they are still a fair way off the top teams in this year’s competition. They were completely outgunned by a red hot Roosters outfit by 34-10.
Before that match, the red and whites had strung together three consecutive wins against the Sharks, Knights and Tigers.
In Round 6 against the Tigers, the Dragons skipped out to a 12-0 lead at half time and looked in complete control. The Tigers fought back to level the scores before a Jamie Soward field goal sealed a win for the Dragons.
Round 5 was a similar scenario. They skipped out to a lead against Newcastle and fought hard in the dying stages to hang on and win.
They meet a side here who love playing it tough and who are smarting from a loss. The Dragons can ill afford to allow the Sea Eagles the same opportunities that they did for the Roosters.
The Sea Eagles have lost two players to suspension. Richie Fa’aoso copped eight weeks for two separate spear tackles whilst Steve Matai will also be missing this week after a high tackle charge.
Tom Symonds has been moved from the back row to the centres to cover for Matai. David Gower comes onto the bench to fill the void left by Fa’aoso. Jason King will also be out this week due to injury and will be replaced by Jesse Sene-Lefao.
1. Brett Stewart
2. Jorge Taufua
3. Jamie Lyon (c)
4. Tom Symonds
5. David Williams
6. Kieran Foran
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Brenton Lawrence
9. Matt Ballin
10. Brent Kite
11. Anthony Watmough
12. Justin Horo
13. Glenn Stewart
14. Peta Hiku
15. David Gower
16. Jamie Buhrer
17. Jesse Sene-Lefao
18. Esi Tonga
19. George Rose
The Sea Eagles were involved in this season’s most physical encounter last week. Their match with the Rabbitohs was played at a frenetic pace and featured hard hitting galore. The Rabbitohs prevailed to win 20-12 on a night where not much went right for Manly.
The Round 7 encounter will be remembered for the foul play as much as anything else. The Sea Eagles were predominantly the perpetrators in this respect and it certainly didn’t help their winning chances.
Prior to last week, in Round 6, they staved off a late charge from the Sharks to prevail by seven points (25-18). They showed great resilience and composure to hang on to the lead in that match.
In Round 5 they dominated the Bulldogs with an emphatic fourteen point victory (20-6). It was a game where the Sea Eagles completely overpowered their opposition and did not allow them into the contest.
Make no mistake that the Sea Eagles are a top contender for the premiership title in 2013. A superb combination of youth and experience sits them in good stead and the proof is showing in their results. Last week could well be a mere blip on the radar as they strive towards bigger and better things.
Manly are coming off a punishing encounter where their pride also took a hit. They will be very keen to atone for that loss.
Despite the missing player, they still have an imposing forward pack. Watmough, Stewart, Kite and Lawrence form the spearhead of the Sea Eagles battering ram. They will look to dominate the Dragons and win the game from up front.
They have more than covered for Matai’s loss with Tom Symonds in the centres, they have plenty of attacking weapons that will cause the Dragons headaches.
The Sea Eagles halves are a real key in this game. They can create and dictate the tempo with their accurate kicking game. Look for them to star if it is to be a Sea Eagles win.
The Dragons have a pack that can compete with any in the NRL. They will look even stronger should they choose to include Michael Weyman.
Trent Merrin has been the Dragons best this season. He is a tireless worker with the rare ability to offload the ball and create chances in attack for his team. Expect Merrin to be heavily involved again here.
History shows that these games have never been easy for the Sea Eagles. It could easily be an upset but I just can’t tip the Dragons given Manly’s great form
Sea Eagles by 4
The Sea Eagles look good value in the head to head market at $1.52 with Centrebet.com.
The Sea Eagles 1-12 is $3.10 and is also a nice price.
For Dragons believers, they are worth a bet +5.5 on the line at $1.91
Daniel Vidot looks a good price to score the first try of the match at $11.
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