Manly Sea Eagles v Parramatta Eels Sunday, March 18, 4:10pm (AEDT) Lottoland, Sydney
These two proud clubs have played some classics over the years and The Wolf is expecting another close affair on Sunday. The Sea Eagles suffered a heart-breaking golden point loss to the Knights in Round 1, while the Eels blew a 14-point lead to get run down by the Panthers. One team will be leaving Brookvale with a 0-2 record to start the season.
FormManly lacked discipline and execution in their first round clash with Newcastle at Hunter Stadium, losing in golden point to the Knights 19-18. The Sea Eagles jumped slight underdogs while the game went under the 42-point total. Parramatta were heavily backed to jump road favourites in Penrith and led 14-0 before going down 24-14 in a forgettable second-half showing. The Eels jumped 1.5-point favourites while the total was 40.5.
Key MatchupTom Trbojevic v Bevan French: The Wolf can’t wait to see these two fullbacks go toe-to-toe and would love to see them in some open space. Trbojevic got through plenty of work in last week’s loss to the Knights and was a constant threat every time he ran the ball. If the Eels are lazy with their kick-chase, Tommy Turbo will punish them! The jury is still out on Bevan French in the fullback role, and it appears only a matter of time before either Jarryd Hayne or Clint Gutherson take the No.1 off him. He’s one of the best finishers in the game, but needs to show more with the ball when he chimes into the back line. Either way, he has speed to burn and is one of the best to watch in full-flight.
Stats That Matter– Manly and Parramatta have met 137 times since 1947 the Sea Eagles holding an 82-51-4 record over the Eels. – Parramatta, however, have won six straight against the Sea Eagles dating back to 2014, including the last three meetings at Brookvale Oval. – The last four meetings have failed to top 36 points. – The Sea Eagles have covered just 3 of their last 10 as a favourite at Brookvale while they are 1-4 ATS as a favourite of less than a try. – The over is 11-3 at Brookvale when Manly play off a loss. – The Eels are 5-0 under as a small road underdog. – The Eels have covered just 3 of their last 11 road games off a loss.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf was on the fence with this one, but has settled on the Eels due to their recent record over the Sea Eagles, especially at Brookvale Oval. The Sea Eagles also have to back-up from a golden-point loss, and could be found wanting in the dying stages of this match. Eels in a nailbiter!