Sea Eagles V Panthers Pepper Stadium
Kick off 7:30 Saturday April 11th 2015
The Sea Eagles head out the long road west to the foot of the mountains to take on the Panthers in a Saturday night must-win clash at Pepper Stadium.
The last time these two sides played, it was a classic. Trailing by 12 points with 18 minutes to go, Manly surged home to win 26-25 in front of a raucous crowd and sending of local stalwart Jason King in style for his last game at the Fortress.
Injuries to key players across the paddock are causing headaches for both coaches. The Sea Eagles will once again have to do without the regular centre pairing of Matai and Lyon, leaving the backline the same as last week. Peta Hiku moving into the centres and local, young-gun, Tom Trbojevic retaining his spot on the wing.
Along with these two, the Silvertails will still be without key forwards, Josh Starling, Brenton Lawrence and Feleti Mateo as they all battle their respective injuries they picked up through the season.
Penrith on the other hand enjoy a much shorter list of injury but have strong members of their first team squad unfit for Saturday’s clash. The Panthers are still working around the absence of five eighth Jamie Soward, who has been out with a back injury. Coupled with this, the mountain men will be without regular centre Dean Whare and forwards Lewis Brown and Brent Kite.
Both teams have had slow starts due to the injuries they have inherited since round one of the 2015 season.
The Panthers won their first two games of the season but have lost the last three where as the Sea Eagles have only won one match this season back in round two against the Melbourne Storm.
Manly are slightly ahead in wins between these two teams, having won 13 and lost 10, however they have only won four games out of 11 at Pepper Stadium.
No team would want to lose four in a row, especially early in the season but despite only being six rounds in, it’s a must win for both sides already.
Last time the met
The Sea Eagles won 26-25 in a cracker at Brookvale, Tom Symonds scoring the winner in the corner.
Key match ups:
Daly Cherry-Evans v Peter Wallace
It will be a game of two halves when these two take the field on Saturday night. The number sevens this year have had spells of being the sole playmaker. Cherry-Evans will be determined to get the Manly faithful back on his side this week after he hit back at some supporters who suggested that the team lacked heart. Wallace on the other hand will be hoping he can manufacture a win without the support of Jamie Soward, so that when the star five eighth returns his transition back in to the side the team will have some winning momentum. They both have the X-factor and can unlock this game, but with both out of luck at present it will be interesting to see who will come out on top.
Brett Stewart v Matt Moylan
The battle of the vacant NSW fullback spot continues as Matt Moylan matches up against Brett Stewart. Blues coach Laurie Daley had stated early this month that these two were part of three-way tussle with Dragons fullback Josh Dugan for a spot in his side. But an injury to NSW backline players Brett Morris and Blake Ferguson has opened the door even wider for these two play-making fullbacks. This match up is sure to be a cracker as more than two points are on the line.
Referee: Jared Maxwell. Assistant Referee: Chris James. Touch Judges: Adam Reid & Rick Macfarlane. Video Referees: Shayne Hayne & Ben Galea