Rd8 preview - Sea Eagles v Raiders
The Sea Eagles return to Brookvale Oval this Sunday against the Raiders looking for a strong performance ahead of the representative break.
Both sides will be buoyed by dramatic late victories in round 7 but the visitors will have the advantage of fielding a more stable line-up.
Ricky Stuart has the luxury of naming the same 17 players who ambushed the Storm last Sunday while Manly will be without match-winner Kieran Foran.
The return of Daly Cherry-Evans from a leg injury is timely for the Sea Eagles but fitness clouds remain over forwards Anthony Watmough and Jason King despite the pair being named in the Geoff Toovey’s 18-man squad.
History is strongly in favour of Manly with the Sea Eagles winning 11 of their past 13 clashes against Canberra dating back to 2004.
The premiership ladder also points to a Manly victory with the Sea Eagles sitting in third place with five wins from seven starts but, by their own admission, they are yet to put in a complete performance this season.
The 12th placed Raiders have been inconsistent so far in 2014 with just three wins from their seven games but victories over the Rabbitohs and Storm highlights their potential danger.
Brett Stewart v Anthony Milford
Brett Stewart appears to be back to full fitness after a hamstring injury interrupted his start to the year and when he’s firing Manly are hard to beat.
Snake’s remarkable try scoring record has seen him cross the stripe 136 times in 181 games but ominously for the Raiders, he’s yet to open his account in 2014.
Anthony Milford is in just his second season of NRL but is already considered one of the games best players and his lightning speed often sparks the Raiders attack.
Both teams boast electrifying fullbacks at the top of their game and the winner of this match-up could go a long way to determining the outcome of the match.
HEAD TO HEAD
Manly 28 wins
Canberra 17 wins