Manly welcome the Eels to Fortress Brookvale looking to get their top-four challenge back on track after their one-point loss to South Sydney broke a three-game winning streak.
The Sea Eagles are a far more resilient side under Des Hasler, defying a season-long laundry list of injuries and absences to become a firm fixture in the top eight, and will be looking to draw on that ability to hang tough against arch-rivals Parramatta.
With Origin now in the rearview mirror Hasler has almost a full roster to draw on - most notably refreshed Blues hero Tom Trbojevic who was rested for the clash with Souths.
Parramatta have struggled to replicate their dominant Bankwest Stadium performances on the road and will be relying on their potent attack to get the better of the Sea Eagles.
In the corresponding clash last season Manly ambushed the Eels, who had entered 2018 dreaming big, and handed out a 54-0 thrashing in round two.
Match: Sea Eagles v Eels
Round 18 -
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Sea Eagles: Manly were forced to reshuffle their halves after five-eighth Cade Cust wasn't able to pass his concussion tests. That brings centre Dylan Walker to five-eighth and Brad Parker from the extended bench into the starting side. NSW Origin fullback Tom Trbojevic also returns from a week's rest. Haumole Olakau'atu and Lloyd Perrett were trimmed from the reserves on Saturday, with Brendan Elliot dropped an hour before kick-off.
Eels: Blake Ferguson is out after undergoing minor knee surgery and been replaced on the wing by rookie Ethan Parry. Aside from that, Brad Arthur saw no need to tinker with a winning formula as the Eels head to Brookvale for a mouth-watering clash with old rivals Manly. Oregon Kaufusi was omitted from the squad on Saturday. Daniel Alvaro and Will Smith were left out an hour before kick-off.
Fullback for Sea Eagles is number 1 Tom TrbojevicFullback for Eels is number 1 Clinton Gutherson
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 2 Jorge TaufuaWinger for Eels is number 2 Maika Sivo
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 18 Brad ParkerCentre for Eels is number 3 Brad Takairangi
Centre for Sea Eagles is number 4 Moses SuliCentre for Eels is number 4 Josh Hoffman
Winger for Sea Eagles is number 5 Reuben GarrickWinger for Eels is number 21 Ethan Parry
Five-Eighth for Sea Eagles is number 3 Dylan WalkerFive-Eighth for Eels is number 6 Dylan Brown
Halfback for Sea Eagles is number 7 Daly Cherry-EvansHalfback for Eels is number 7 Mitchell Moses
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 8 Addin Fonua-BlakeProp for Eels is number 8 Kane Evans
Hooker for Sea Eagles is number 9 Manase FainuHooker for Eels is number 9 Reed Mahoney
Prop for Sea Eagles is number 10 Martin TaupauProp for Eels is number 10 Junior Paulo
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 11 Joel Thompson2nd Row for Eels is number 11 Shaun Lane
2nd Row for Sea Eagles is number 12 Curtis Sironen2nd Row for Eels is number 12 Manu Ma'u
Lock for Sea Eagles is number 13 Jake TrbojevicLock for Eels is number 13 Nathan Brown
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 14 Lachlan CrokerInterchange for Eels is number 14 Jaeman Salmon
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 15 Corey WaddellInterchange for Eels is number 15 Marata Niukore
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 16 Morgan BoyleInterchange for Eels is number 16 David Gower
Interchange for Sea Eagles is number 17 Taniela PasekaInterchange for Eels is number 17 Tepai Moeroa
Tom Trbojevic is such a force of nature at his home ground that the pressure will be on rival fullback Clint Gutherson, a Sea Eagles local junior, to deliver a commanding performance of his own from the back or Parramatta will struggle to stay with Manly.
For the Sea Eagles to win
Manly's big men will be looking to turn up the heat on the fragile Eels defence. With Martin Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake leading the charge the Sea Eagles are at or near the top of the rankings for line breaks, run metres, post-contact metres and offloads.
For the Eels to win
Mitchell Moses will be under pressure to continue his fine performances with both boot and ball in hand. The halfback, among the competition's best for try and linebreak assists, will have to win the field position battle and ensure attacking weapons like Gutherson and Maika Sivo get the ball where they can do the most damage.
Brett Kimmorley says
Both teams are in form. Manly were still good last weekend despite losing to South Sydney. Who wins halfback battle between DCE and Mitchell Moses? It will also be interesting with Clint Gutherson going back to Brookvale where he cut his teeth. Manly did enough to beat Souths, if they can learn from that they can beat Parra. I think this will be the game of the round. Manly by 4
Whoever cleans up their act will go a long way towards winning. The Sea Eagles are the third most-penalised side in the competition while the Eels rank third for handling errors.
And another thing ...
Hooker Reed Mahoney will be leading from the front as the Eels defence looks to lift its game and contain Manly's many weapons. The Parramatta hooker is the NRL's top tackler with 775 and shoulders a huge burden in a team that misses plenty.