Rd25 preview: Sea Eagles v Panthers
The Sea Eagles will be fighting to keep hold of their minor premiership destiny when the Panthers travel to Brookvale Oval on Sunday afternoon.
In recent fixtures, Manly have failed to replicate the form that saw them catapult to the top of the competition ladder, claiming just one win from their last three starts.
The Sea Eagles were given a reality check as they fell to a resurgent Eels outfit last Friday night. A loss some argue last year’s runners-up needed with the finals approaching.
Regardless of their recent form, the Sea Eagles have had great success this season in shifting the ball wide to allow space for wingers Jorge Taufua and Peta Hiku to find the try line.
Hiku, who has scored 17 tries this season, will no doubt look to add to his try-tally in a bid to claim top try-scorer in 2014.
The message from the winger is clear. Without ball control and discipline, the Sea Eagles can expect a similar result to Friday night’s clash against the Eels on Sunday.
“We expected Parramatta to come out strong in the first half, and I think we did well to contain them, although we completely lost concentration in the second half,” Hiku said.
“We have to be better this week against the Panthers. Our completions, especially in the second half were below standard, so we’ll have to work on that at training.”
Despite a mounting injury toll, the Panthers currently sit in fourth position on the NRL ladder and come to Brookvale Oval having won three of their last five clashes.
The Panthers were comprehensively beaten 24-10 on Monday night against Melbourne, however recent form suggests that Penrith will be quietly confident of producing an upset against the ladder leaders.
Five-eighth turned halfback Jamie Soward has been in scintillating form since making the move from St George Illawarra to the Panthers. The men from the foot of the mountains will be asking for much of the same from the former Origin playmaker as they look to secure their spot in the top four.