Manly is on a three-match winning streak at Lottoland this year with the Rabbitohs, Raiders and Bulldogs their 'victims' so far on the Northern Beaches.
But the Titans enjoyed two wins over the Sea Eagles in 2018 - the most recent being at Lottoland in round 23 last year in a high-scoring game 42-34.
Of course the Des Hasler-styled defence is a far cry from the Trent Barrett structures. And they will have to be as the Titans are in the habit of scoring points early - two unanswered tries against the Knights in round six, the Wests Tigers in in round seven, and the Bulldogs in round 10.
Sea Eagles: Manly will line up 1-17 as originally named on Tuesday. Not a single change for coach Des Hasler to the team that beat Cronulla last week. Jade Anderson and Taniela Paseka were the last players omitted prior to kick-off, while Lloyd Perrett and Haumole Olakauatu were cut from the reserves on Thursday. Despite being without injured stars Tom Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, Manly have won six of their past eight games.
Titans: Jai Whitbread will start at lock for injured Jai Arrow (quadriceps/hip-flexor). Bryce Cartwright has been dropped to the bench, replaced by Keegan Hipgrave, while Jack Stockwell has been elevated from the reserves to the bench. Max King and Ryley Jacks were the last reserves cut before kick-off, while Will Matthews dropped off the reserves list on Thursday.
Locks Jai Arrow (Titans) and Jake Trbojevic (Manly), who could well be putting on a dress rehearsal at No.13 for Origin's opening game 12 days later, as well as trying to get the two competition points on Friday night. Of course there will be a fair amount of interest in Kane Elgey facing his old club for the first time, and taking on former halves teammates Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts. On the flip side former Sea Eagles Brian Kelly is back at Lottoland.
For the Sea Eagles to win
Pretty simple really - don't under-estimate your opponent. The Sea Eagles have been under-estimated pretty much all season and as long as they don't fall into the same trap and become complacent against a team 10 spots below them on the ladder, Manly should make it win No.7 on Friday.
For the Titans to win
Maybe it's time for Garth Brennan to drop Ash Taylor to see if he can put an 80-minute performance together in reserve grade, because he continues to fade in and out of games and the Titans can't count on him when they need him. Of course, this team also has some defensive issues the need sorting out. They'll need a super effort on Friday against one of the NRL's hardest-working sides.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Titans led by 16 last week but couldn't go on with it, so there will be pressure again on Ash Taylor to guide them home this week. Manly are flying massively under the radar, with Des Hasler getting the best out of his players. Addin Fonua-Blake was unbelievable last week and if he has another performance like that and creates quick play-the-balls I expect the Manly side to win this game pretty comfortably. Sea Eagles by 10.
Addin Fonua-Blake was all business in Manly's 24-14 defeat of Cronulla last week. Playing 48 highly effective minutes, he scored the game's first try and had 16 runs for a team-high 168m. He made two line breaks, five tackle breaks, 15 hit-ups and 25 tackles.
And another thing ...
The Titans had Manly's measure in 2018, winning their first clash 32-20 and the return meeting 42-34. Hard to see a similar end to end track meet on Friday. The Sea Eagles rank as the fifth-best defensive team in the NRL and are a much stronger defensive unit under Des Hasler. The Titans remain vulnerable to conceding big scores, ranking only above Penrith in points conceded... finally Sea Eagles legend Cliff Lyons' face features on the front of Manly's Indigenous jersey and the great five-eighth will be seated in the front row on Friday night.