The Bulldogs will need to extract every ounce of confidence from last week's win - just their second in seven rounds - because Lottoland is not an easy place to play if you ask top-four teams South Sydney and Canberra.
But if Corey Harawira-Naera uncorks another game like he did against the Cowboys - scored two tries, saved another, ran for 149 metres and made the most tackles (43) of anyone on the field - then the Bulldogs won't care where they are playing.
Manly have scored more than half their tries in 2019 from within the 20-metre zone, while the Bulldogs have made the most tackles in defence of any NRL side. That probably means they are up for a whole lot more on Saturday at Lottoland.
Sea Eagles: Manly are 1-17 as named on Tuesday, with Morgan Boyle and Zach Dockar-Clay dropping off the reserves bench. Daly Cherry-Evans (ankle) is replaced by Kane Elgey, who will partner Lachlan Croker in the halves. Abbas Miski has been named to make his debut on the wing replacing Jorge Taufua (calf). Addin Fonua-Blake returns from suspension in the front row and Toafofoa Sipley reverts to the bench. Kelepi Tanginoa and Taniela Paseka dropped off the extended reserves list on Friday evening.
Bulldogs:Dylan Napa returns from injury in the starting side, with Ofahiki Ogden shifting back to the bench and Michael Lichaa, Marcelo Montoya and Renouf Toomaga dropping out of the initial 21-man squad. Kieran Foran was named among the reserves on Tuesday but was left out on Friday as he continues to work his way back from an ankle injury. Apart from Napa, the only change to last week's side is on the bench where Fa'amanu Brown comes in for Chris Smith.
How Aiden Tolman and Ofahiki Ogden handle opposing front-rowers Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake, especially with the Tongan international feeling fresh in his first game back after a two-week suspension. The Bulldogs pair held their own against the Burgess boys a fortnight ago, while also halting the effects of Test players Matt Scott and Jordan McLean in the win over the Cowboys.
For the Sea Eagles to win
With DCE sidelined, every player will have to lift another notch, but that shouldn't be a problem given the Sea Eagles have been rolling up the sleeves over the past month or so. Lachlan Croker starred in his comeback to first grade last week and will have to provide direction and poise as their primary playmaker in DCE's absence.
For the Bulldogs to win
Their bench of Michael Lichaa, Danny Fualalo, Adam Elliott and Chris Smith needs to have similar impact as last week and out-energise Manase Fainu, Jack Gosiewski, Corey Waddell and Toff Sipley. The Bulldogs foursome only missed two tackles between them last week, and made plenty of post-contact metres. Elliott also had a try assist.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Dogs will be thinking they’re a chance. If I’m a Canterbury player I’m skipping into this game with a spring of confidence. If they can play that flat, fast, over the advantage line style of play again they’ll be hard to beat. For Manly, Des is getting the best out of a roster we thought would struggle. But being so down on troops, it might be too hard for them. Bulldogs by 4
Centre Kerrod Holland and Harawira-Naera are both in the top-five for offloads across the NRL, while winger Jayden Okunbor is in the top-five for line breaks. That all creates an elusive left edge. But Manly as a team are fifth across the NRL in busting the line.
And another thing ...
Both Dean Pay and Des Hasler played 12 games each for NSW Origin, but never together and they have never faced each other in the coaching box either. But Hasler is facing the club he took to two grand finals before they sacked him (2017) for the first time.