Manly go down to Wollongong Saturday night and face an improving St George Illawarra Dragons. With the Sea Eagles getting some key troops back, the game is sure to be intriguing as both teams look for their second win of the season.
The most mouth-watering match up is that of the in-form Feleti Mateo taking on the always dynamic Trent Merrin.
Both players have stepped up in the last two rounds. Mateo found form in the absence of Kieran Foran at five-eighth, shifting in easily and bringing back memories of his ball-playing Parramatta years . His deadly offloading and strong ball running, produced his first try of the season and first for the Sea Eagles colours.
NSW representative Merrin has endured a tougher start to the season in having to deal with his own contract situation at the Red V . The premiership winning forward eventually decided to pursue his future with the mountain men in Penrith, giving the Dragons one last year of his services. Merrin has found himself playing off the bench of late; However, the power forward put in a huge effort last week against Canberra, getting the Dragons underway for 2015.
With Mateo moving back into the second row this week and Merrin set to start too, the game is set to see a great clash between two of the best ball running forwards in the game.
Here are some key stats between the two players:
· Both players have scored one try each this season both coming last week
· Merrin has featured in one Grand Final and was successful in 2010 with the Dragons where as Mateo has been in two and agonisingly lost both His most recent Grand Final loss, ironically came against Manly back in 2011.
· Merrin has been a lot busier with the ball already notching up 539 running metres in three games
· However, Mateo has a much more impressive try scoring record with 31 tries to his name
The similarities between these two continue with both having three tackle busts and one line break with Merrin making two offloads and Mateo making one.
Both players have the ability to open up this game right up.
Be sure to tune in Saturday night to find out exactly when these two big men collide.