Sea Eagles v Raiders Lavington Sports Ground
Kick off 5:05pm, Saturday April 4th 2015
Saturday night sees the NRL head down to Albury for the first time as the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles take on the Canberra Raiders at the Lavington Sports Ground and both sides looking to cure early season blues.
Manly have been plagued by injury this season and this week is no different with Jamie Lyon (groin), Feleti Mateo (knee and ankle) and Josh Starling (knee) all missing out.
Toovey has again been forced into a reshuffle. Braydne Wiliame comes in for the skipper in the centres and Tom Symonds replaces Mateo. The Sea Eagles will also be sweating on the fitness of Steve Matai, who is still recovering from a shoulder injur, while Willie Mason is battling a virus but expected to play.
Meanwhile, the Canberra Raiders will be looking to snap their three match losing streak, with their sole win back in round one against the Sharks. The only noticeable absentee from the Green Machine’s squad is young halfback Mitchell Cornish, who was dropped for Sam Williams.
The silvertails go in to the match as favourites having beaten the Raiders nine out of the last ten games and the bookies expect them to get back to winning ways.
Both Stuart and Toovey will be looking for improved attacking performances from their sides after they were only able to put the one try on the board last week.
No side wants to start the season with figures of one-from-five. Expect both teams to fight tooth and nail to get back to winning ways.
Last time they met
The Sea Eagles came out on top with a resounding 54-18 win at Brookvale win. Peta Hiku was the pick of the performers, bagging four tries.
Key Match Ups
Kieran Foran v Blake Austin
The biggest match up on Saturday night will be battle between the five-eighths Kieran Foran and Blake Austin. Last year Foran was truly exceptional in a well-oiled Manly outfit, where as Austin was one of the few good performers in an underachieving Wests Tigers team. Foran has missed a few games through injury this season and is yet to get back to his best but with another game under his belt it’s only a matter of time before the Kiwi international regains his stride. His opposite number is in his first season with the Canberra Raiders and head coach, Ricky Stuart has placed a lot of faith in him as one of Canberra's key men. Both players love to run the ball and have pace to back their skill. It's sure to be an intriguing battle.
Dunamis Lui v Shaun Fensom
Another intriguing battle that will be taking place on the field is the match up between the locks, Dunamis Lui and Shaun Fensom. Dunamis Lui has started 2015 well and has given Manly some much needed aggression with his hard hitting. Shaun Fensom on the other hand has been sn absolute machine for a number of seasons and is considered one of the most under-rated second rowers in the game. Both players differ in the styles, Lui loves to run hard at opponents giving the Sea Eagles an instant impact, whereas, Fensom thrives in grinding footy, putting his hand up in nearly every tackle. It’s explosiveness versus stability in the this battle of the locks.
Referee: Gavin Badger. Assistant Referee Chris Sutton. Touch judges: Rick MacFarlane and David Ryan. Video Referees: Steve Clark and Luke Patten.