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Manly Sea Eagles v NZ Warriors
Saturday, July 1, 5:30pm (AEST) at nib Stadium

The Eagles continue to lat claim as title contenders and last weeks win over the Sharks was perhaps their best. Taupau and Jake cotinue to lay a platform and it has allowed Cherry-Evans to flourish in a way that has his name being thrown up to replace the injured Thurston for Queensland. The Warriors posted back to back wins for just the second time this season with a scrappy performance against the Dogs but will have to find another gear if they are to challenge the high flying Eagles.

The Warriors make one of the longest trips in professional sport this week. The 7 hour flight from Auckland to Perth has been one that they have struggled with in the past. They are 0-5 at nib Stadium and have also lost their last 5 when facing the Sea Eagles. It gets worse… Manly have won 11 of the last 12 and 18 of the last 22. It is one of the most dominant records in the NRL and questions will be asked of the Warriors defence.

Manly are the hot team in the NRL following their superb 35-18 win over Cronulla. The Sea Eagles are now into the Top 4 with a 9-5 record. Manly have now won four straight and six of their last seven. New Zealand had few issues disposing of Canterbury at Mt Smart on Friday night. The Warriors have now won three of their last four, keeping opponents to 14 or fewer in those three wins.

Key Matchup
Daly Cherry-Evans v Shaun Johnson: Cherry-Evans has returned to the form that saw him win the Clive Churchill Medal and we may very well see him in a Maroons jersey next week. He has shown just how effective he can be behind a dominant pack. We have seen him really improve his one on one defence and we have consequently seen teams stop trying to isolate him. It has allowed him to focus more on attack where he is equal fist in try assists, with non other than Shaun Johnson. It is really difficult to understand what is expected from Shaun Johnson. He leads the NRL in try assists, has over 30 tackle busts, 9 forced drop outs and more than his fair share of line break – all with Foran in the side who was supposed to hinder his output. It is about time his team-mates stepped up and laid him some sort of platform! The Wolf cannot see him getting that in Perth and has Cherry-Evans winning this battle in a canter.

Stats That Matter
– Manly are 9-5 ATS with a 7-7 total record while New Zealand 6-9 ATS with a 8-7 under record.
– Manly have won five straight and 11 of their last 12.
– The Warriors have not scored more than 18 in any of their last six against Manly.
– The Sea Eagles won the only clash in Perth between the two teams.
– Manly are a perfect 1-0 at NIB Stadium while New Zealand are 0-5 with three losses of 16-plus.
– Manly have covered 9 of their last 12 away from Brookvale though are 4-7 ATS when favoured by more than a try.
– The Warriors have covered just 20 of 50 away from Mt Smart since 2014, including a 12-19 ATS as an underdog.
– New Zealand are 23-15 over in day matches since 2014.

Final Thoughts
Manly are on a roll at the moment and there really is no stopping them. They have won 5 straight and 11 of their last 12 highlighted by a 17 point win over the defending premiers. The Warriors are yet to win 3 in a row this season and have a dreadful record in Perth, losing in all five of their trips there. Manly have covered 9 of their last 12 away from Brookvale and have held the Warriors to 18 or less in their last 6 clashes. Taupau and Jake to lay the platform with Cherry-Evans to stake him claim for an Origin jersey with a man of the match performance.

How It’s Shaping Up
Manly by 22

Best Bet
Manly -6.5 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
Manly 19+ ($4.25) 

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