2 days ago
Sea Eagles v Bulldogs preview
Two sides that took one giant step away from the wooden spoon last week look to move further away from the dreaded piece of cutlery.
What a response it was from the Sea Eagles.
After two different but equally embarrassing losses to the Roosters and Panthers, Manly took it to the Sharks on their own turf and emerged victorious.
It was a game that suited Cronulla perfectly given that they are the unofficial kings of the grind.
However, they were trumped. While defence may still remain an issue for the Sea Eagles, it doesn't really matter.
The win in itself was too important as it provides the struggling club with some much-needed confidence to finish the season with.
The Sea Eagles, along with the Cowboys and Eels, have been one of the competition's biggest underachievers in 2018.
Their roster still oozes of quality but is hasn't been translated into points.
While Trent Barrett looks to have avoided the humiliation of leading Manly to their first ever last-placed finish, the club has lost their last six games at home.
Another defeat on Saturday night will see the drought stretch to seven, something never previously seen.
The situation isn't so dire at the Bulldogs.
Canterbury fans are suddenly back on board after their team claimed their second-straight win last weekend.
Recent results are even more extraordinary given that only three weeks ago the Bulldogs suffered an embarrassing 14-8 loss to Parramatta.
Dean Pay's men may have won seven of their last eight against Manly, but they'll certainly be hoping to forget their last visit to Brookvale, when they were thumped 36-0.
Last meeting: Round 24 2017 - Bulldogs 30 Sea Eagles 16
Who to watch:
Shaun Lane will be looking to continue his impressive form against his former club on Saturday evening. Lane was in the thick of it last weekend against the Sharks, scoring two tries, running for 111 metres and busting the line two times in a 65-minute stint. This week he comes up against one of the best and most consistent second-rowers in the game - Josh Jackson. A try, 119 running metres and 30 tackles against the Broncos last week constituted yet another workman-like performance from the former NSW Blues representative. His influence on the Bulldogs this year has been underrated.
The favourite: Manly are slight favourites, probably because of the home crowd advantage. It hasn't helped them recently though.
My tip: A tough one. My initial reaction was the Sea Eagles will have too many points and I'll have to stick with that prediction. Manly by 6.
1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Moses Suli 4. Brian Kelly 5. Brad Parker 6. Dylan Walker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-blake 9. Manase Fainu 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Shaun Lane 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Trent Hodkinson 15. Kelepi Tanginoa 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Frank Winterstein
1. William Hopoate 2. Brett Morris 3. Josh Morris 4. Kerrod Holland 5. Reimis Smith 20. Matt Frawley 7. Jeremy Marshall-King 8. Aiden Tolman 9. Michael Lichaa 10. David Klemmer 11. Josh Jackson 12. Rhyse Martin 13. Adam Elliot 14. Fa'amanu Brown 15. Danny Fualalo 16. Ofahiki Ogden 19. Greg Eastwood
Referees: Chris Sutton, Tim Roby; Sideline Officials: Nick Morel, Todd Smith; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Bryan Norrie;