Bulldogs v Sea Eagles ANZ Stadium
Kick Off 7:35 Friday April 17th 2015
This Friday night the Sea Eagles get set to renew their rivalry with the Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs only a month after their grudge match at Brookvale Oval back in round three.
Both sides have been doing it tough since round one of the 2015 season with an extended injury and suspension list.
The Sea Eagles having the longest running injury list welcome back skipper Jamie Lyon this week. The Club captain has only played once since he pulled up in a Captain’s run the day before their last clash with the Bulldogs.
Mercurial fullback, Brett Stewart will again be on the sideline after he pulled up last week a day before the clash with the Panthers and Tom Trbojevic will sit out after he limped off the field last weekend.
With these changes, Peta Hiku will remain at fullback and Brayden Wiliame moves out onto the wing. Along with these changes James Hasson comes on the bench replacing Jesse Sene-Lefao and Jake Trbojevic will keep his spot in the starting 13.
The Bulldogs injury and suspension list has been well document over the last two weeks after their infamous clash against the South Sydney Rabbitohs. Since the final whistle of that game, props James Graham and David Klemmer have been suspended for their tirades on referee Gerard Sutton and joining them on the list is Sam Kasiano for his dangerous conduct charge.
Along with a lengthy suspension list the Bulldogs will again have to do without Brett Morris (hamstring) and centre Tim Lafai (knee) who both missed last weeks defeat to the St George Illawarra Dragons.
Both sides will be desperate for a win for different reasons. Manly will want to rid themselves of media scrutiny for just one week and are hoping that former coach and now new staff member Bob Fulton can help inspire them to victory. For the Bulldogs, its about keep pacing with the leading pack as they look to establish their top four credentials and have backed halves, Trent Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds to fire up after a few have suggested they shouldn’t be the front runners for the NSW blues’ six and seven shirt.
It set to be another cruelling encounter with so much going on the line. Injuries across the park will allow the game to open up so expect points to be scored in another blockbuster clash between these two fierce rivals.
Last time they met
The Bulldogs won in a narrow affair 16-12, Trent Hodkinson’s skill with the boot the deciding factor between the two sides.
Key Match ups
Jake Trbojevic v Aiden Tolman
Jake Trbojevic’s rise to the first team at Manly has escalated quickly. With injuries to regular front rowers Brenton Lawrence and Josh Starling, Trbojevic has been brought into the team as replacement, working off the bench. Yet, the young prop’s enthusiasm and confidence has seen him move into a starting spot where he has continued to impress many fans and experts alike. This week however, he comes up against arguably his toughest test yet and that is to stop rampaging Bulldogs prop, Aiden Tolman. Tolman has had a fantastic start to the new season, often out shining English international, James Graham on a few occasions. Now without his regular partner in crime who is sitting on the sidelines the modest front rower has been asked to step up and with a potential origin spot up for grabs he will want to start impressing NSW blues selectors. This match up is key to either side’s chance of winning on Friday night, with both of these don’t argue forwards keen to make an impression.
Jamie Lyon v Josh Morris
Another critical clash that will go head to head on Friday night is the battle between current and former origin centres Josh Morris and Jamie Lyon. Both players have had mixed starts to the season. Manly skipper Lyon has missed most games this season through injury and Morris has been outshined by his fullback and brother Brett Morris who was an off-season purchase. However, with Brett out injured the last couple of weeks, Josh has put in stellar performances for his clubs and was the only Bulldog to score last week against the Dragons. Lyon will hope he can play the full 80 minutes at full strength because he will every inch of his speed to keep Morris at bay. Where as Morris will need to use his intelligence as well as his speed to out wit one of the most experienced centres in the game. So it’s pace versus experience in this battle of the backs.