Taking on the joint competition leaders on their home ground is the challenge awaiting a desperate Manly Warringah Sea Eagles outfit this Saturday.
The Sea Eagles head to Wollongong to take on the St George-Illawarra Dragons at WIN Stadium in round 15 of the Telstra Premiership.
The Dragons sit on 22 competition points with new leaders South Sydney (after their win over the Eels last night) and Penrith, and head into the clash against Manly with an unchanged team following their 18-16 win over the Bulldogs last Monday afternoon.
For the Sea Eagles, they desperately need a win to end a three game losing streak to keep their finals hopes alive. Manly sit on eight competition points with 10 matches and a bye remaining.
Manly go into the match on the back of a 34-14 loss to the Warriors in a home game at Christchurch last Saturday. The Sea Eagles again started well to lead 8-0 before trailing 12-8 at half-time before the Warriors put the foot down in the second half.
With so much on the line, the Sea Eagles won't be able to afford any lapses in defence against one of the premiership heavyweights in the Dragons, who have won four of their past five games in Wollongong.
Manly have been dealt a blow heading into the match after the NRL knocked back a request from the club to allow exciting young hooker Manase Fainu to make his first grade debut after being named in the team on Tuesday to replace the injured Api Koroisau.
The Sea Eagles sought an exemption from the NRL to play Fainu, who is registered as a development player but is not in the club's top 30 players list.
Manly Coach Trent Barrett is now looking at using the likes of Lewis Brown and Matthew Wright at hooker.
Sea Eagles winger Akuila Uate will play his 200th NRL game in the match after making his first grade debut for Newcastle in 2008.
Did you know?
WIN Stadium, Wollongong, has not been a happy hunting ground for the Sea Eagles when it comes to playing joint venture club, St George-Illawarra.
Of the six matches played between the two clubs, Manly has recorded just one victory.
Ironically, the last time the Sea Eagles beat St George-Illawarra in Wollongong was in 2003 in a match that saw current Manly Coach Trent Barrett the then captain of the Dragons.
Current Manly Assistant Coach Chad Randall was the Sea Eagles hooker and scored a try in the 38-12 win that day.
St George-Illawarra v Manly
WIN Stadium, Wollongong
Saturday, June 16, 5.30pm
Played 26: Dragons 17, Manly 9
St George-Illawarra vs Manly at WIN Stadium: Played 6: Dragons 5, Manly 1
2017 results: Dragons won 35-10, Lottoland, Rd 6; Dragons won 52-22, WIN Stadium, Rd 20.
2018 Points per game: Dragons 24.5; Sea Eagles 20.9
2018 Points conceded per game: Dragons 16.0; Sea Eagles 23.7
Televised: Live on Fox League
Match: Dragons v Sea Eagles
Round 15 -
Venue: WIN Stadium
- LIVE PASS