Friday, 27 June 2008
: Manly Sea Eagles vs. Newcastle Knights
Where: Bluetongue Stadium, Gosford
When: 7.30pm, Saturday 28th June 2008
Sportingbet Odds: Sea Eagles ($1.22) Knights ($4.35)
Line Option: Knights +12.5 ($1.91)
Referee: Shayne Hayne
Though they had to work for it, and survive a few anxious moments late in the game, the Sea Eagles survived their test across the Tasman against the Warriors, and retained their place atop the NRL ladder as a result, though they do share top billing with another three teams on twenty-two competition points.
With only Brett Stewart Origin-tied, Manly have very few problems heading into Saturday night's match. Michael Robertson reverts to full back, allowing Michael Bani into the side on a wing, while Nick Bradley-Qalilawa and Adam Cuthbertson have both been named on stand-by for the match.
Sea Eagles: Michael Robertson, Michael Bani, Steve Bell, Steve Matai, David Williams, Jamie Lyon, Matt Orford (capt), Brent Kite, Matt Ballin, Josh Perry, Anthony Watmough, Glenn Stewart, Luke Williamson. Interchange: Heath L'Estrange, Glenn Hall, Mark Bryant, Steve Menzies, Nick Bradley-Qalilawa, Adam Cuthbertson (two to be omitted).
A brace by the competition's co-leading try scorer Shaun Kenny-Dowall and some impatience towards the end of the game eventually sank the Knights in their 80-minute battle with the high-flying Sydney Roosters.
Though they did little wrong throughout the match, two disallowed tries, the last a double-movement that came about from eagerness rather than sensible play demonstrated the overall greenness of the Knights of 2008, though they continue to remain a top-eight contender despite being written-off by many before the season began.
With Danny Buderus, Ben Cross and Kurt Gidley on duty with New South Wales, the Knights face a tall order at Bluetongue Stadium on Saturday night, though Brian Smith will hope that promising rookie Junior Sau can fill a hole in the centres, while Daniel Tolar and Scott Dureau will both start from the interchange bench.
Knights: Wes Naiqama, James McManus, Junior Sau, Adam MacDougall, Cooper Vuna, Chris Bailey, Jarrod Mullen, Steve Simpson (capt), Matt Hilder, Jesse Royal, Chris Houston, Cory Paterson, Zeb Taia. Interchange: Daniel Tolar, Richard Faaoso, Danny Wicks, Scott Dureau.
Margin Bet: Manly Sea Eagles to win by 13+ points ($1.95)
With Manly near full strength, the should make light work of the Knights in Gosford, and take the 13+ option relatively comfortably.
The Sea Eagles would be a monty here if the match was at Brookvale Oval, and even though the match is at Bluetongue Stadium, they would start as deserved favourites with the Knights at full strength. The absence of Buderus, Cross and Gidley makes this tip relatively easy.
Racing and Sports tip: Manly Sea Eagles