While the 2018 #NRL Pre-Season is still a few weeks away, there's a bunch of warm-up clashes happeni...
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Manly look to resurrect spluttering season against Roosters
The Sea Eagles will be desperate to get their season back on track when they return to Lottoland on Sunday afternoon. Trent Barrett's side have lost their way in the past two weeks, being defeated by a combined total of 92-28. As a result, if the Sea Eagles fail to win this weekend, they could find themselves in a precarious position with the Panthers looming in 9th position. Luckily, they are at no risk of dropping outside of the Top Eight for the first time since Round 6 after the Dragons collapsed to a 26-24 defeat at the hands of the Rabbitohs on Friday night. Either way, Barrett will demand an immediate response from his troops this weekend as they look to put their last-start loss to Melbourne behind them. The main reason for last weekend's 40-6 loss was a whopping 63 missed tackles, taking their tally to 113 from the past fortnight. If Manly are any hope of prevailing on Sunday their defence is one thing that will need to improve.
It does not get any easier for them on Sunday as they come up against a Roosters side who ranks third in the competition for defence. Despite the absence of a host of players, most notably Michael Gordon, Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, the Roosters have continued their push towards a top-two spot, overcoming the Cowboys 22-16 in their most recent fixture. With that result the Roosters have now won six of their past seven. With a cluster of sides hovering around them, victory will be crucial for the Roosters as they attempt to consolidate their spot near the top of the ladder and potentially aim for a Minor Premiership.
Who to watch: Look out for the performance of centre Dylan Walker. Walker has understandably been quiet in recent weeks as he has been playing in a side that has been comfortably beaten. However, Walker proved the difference the last time these sides met. That day Walker posted two line breaks and scored 14 of Manly's 18 points as he helped them to victory. A similar output from him will prove crucial against a Roosters side who has impressed in defence this season.
Meanwhile, Walker's opposite number Latrell Mitchell played a starring role in his side's win over the Cowboys last week. Mitchell streaked down the touchline in the third minute to claim the first try of the night and ended up finishing with a try-assist, line break and two goals to his name. Mitchell could prove a handful on Sunday afternoon if not contained seeing that he will be coming up against a Manly side who has struggled in defence recently.
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Matthew Wright 3. Dylan Walker 15. Brad Parker 5. Akuila Uate 6. Blake Green 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Brenton Lawrence 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Frank Winterstein 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Lewis Brown 16. Darcy Lussick 17. Lloyd Perrett 21. Kelepi Tanginoa
1. Connor Watson 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Victor Radley 10. Dylan Napa 11. Ryan Matterson 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Isaac Liu 14. Zane Tetevano 15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho 16. Aidan Guerra 17. Mitchell Cornish