Fri, Mar 25, 2:07pm by Kevin Pitstock
For the first time in 2011 the Sea Eagles will take to the field at Brookvale oval when they come up against the in-form Newcastle Knights. After stunning the Roosters at the SFS on Sunday the Eagles look to back it up against a Knights team that has won 2 away games in a row. Over the years Brookvale Oval has earned a reputation as the best “Fortress” that any Sydney team boasts (I can hear Tigers fans meowing to differ, sorry guys but Leichardt is not as good). Last year was one of their worst at Brookvale in a long time, winning just 7 and losing 5. If the Eagles can raid on the Knights parade then the fans will once again believe the Fortress to be re-built. The Knights are coming off wins from the Panthers and Cowboys and sit comfortably atop the NRL ladder based on for and against. This is a re-match of the memorable 1997 grand final in which Joey Johns steered the Knights to victory.
Isaac De Gois
Manly Sea Eagles Preview
The Eagles have not played the Knights at Brookvale since 2006, as they have been moving their home games to Blue Tongue Stadium on the central coast to attract a moderate fan base from both teams. The Knights won the last outing in 2006 26-12, but this was so long ago and is now insignificant. Last week the Eagles were without a number of their marquee players so it was up to “the other guys” to bring the goods. Keiren Foran in the halves played a superb match and showed NZ selectors that he is the real deal, but it was more of a team effort than anything else. This was the 2nd biggest upset of the weekend and everyone I know bar a couple of Eagles supporters tipped for the Roosters. The Eagles have a few players feeling a bit under the weather after the Roosters clash but they have all been named in the starting side. If the Eagles can perform to the same calibre as last week they will almost surely come up with the points.
Newcastle Knights Preview
There are a lot of reports back at Newcastle that Assistant coach Matthew Johns has had a massive impact around camp. We all know that Matty was not quite the footballer that his younger brother Joey was, but what he lacks in ability he makes up for in personality. Reports are saying that Matty Johns is having more influence on the team than the best tactician could with his ability to rewind the clock to the winning culture the Knights had when they won the 1997 and 2001 Grand Finals. Jarred Mullens is playing out of his skin at the moment and is pushing for a NSW selection. The Knights also field some of the biggest backs in the competition and it is out wide that this battle will be won. Kurt Gidley is still under major doubt to make his return, but they have been doing alright without him.
Three away games in a row is tough for any team to achieve, and if the Knights can do it then they will be seen as a real threat this year. Although the Knights sit on top of the ladder I think that a lot of this is due to the extremely poor quality of the opposition. Not taking anything away from the Knights, but to get on them for the premiership after they defeated 2 teams that are likely to finish outside the 8 is ridiculous. The Eagles are a goer here and i’m sticking with the tight margins this week and going for 1-12.
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