Manly Warringah Sea Eagles head to Townsville on Saturday, September 4, to tackle the Nth Qld Cowboys.
Let’s take a look at some of the key facts heading into the Round 25 match at Queensland Country Bank Stadium. Kick-off is 5.30pm.
The Sea Eagles sit in fourth place on 32 points along with Parramatta Eels (fifth) and the Sydney Roosters (sixth) with a commanding points differential over both teams.
The Roosters play the ninth-placed Canberra Raiders tonight (Thursday) with the Eels taking on the second placed Penrith Panthers on Friday night, meaning the Sea Eagles will know where they sit before the Cowboys game.
A win over the Cowboys will see Manly finish fourth and get two chances in the finals series. A loss to the Cowboys and wins by the Eels and Roosters could see Manly finish as low as sixth place.
The Cowboys sit in 14th place on the ladder.
In their only match at the new Townsville stadium last year, the Sea Eagles walked away with a 24-12 win after leading 12-6 at half-time.
Daly Cherry-Evans, Cade Cust, Danny Levi, and Curtis Sironen crossed for tries with Reuben Garrick kicking four from four.
Manly have won six of their past seven matches, playing some brilliant attacking play along the way.
Last week, the Sea Eagles blew several first half try scoring opportunities in humid conditions at Redcliffe before recording a 36-18 win over the Bulldogs.
The Cowboys recorded a 38-26 win over the Dragons in Rockhampton.
The Sea Eagles welcome the return of powerful young prop Taniela Paseka from an ankle injury suffered in the round 21 loss to the Melbourne Storm.
Skillful prop Sean Keppie also returns to the team after a 14-day quarantine following the birth of his first child.
Last Time We Met
The Sea Eagles turned in a dominant performance to record a 50-18 victory over the Nth Qld Cowboys in the round 14 match at 4 Pines Park in June.
Manly ran in nine tries with centre Brad Parker and second-rower Haumole Olakau’atu grabbing doubles.
Reuben Garrick capped off a fine game at full-back, kicking seven from nine goals in a match that saw the Sea Eagles lead 28-12 at half-time.
33 games: Manly 19, Cowboys 13, 1 draw
The Sea Eagles have won four of their past five games against the Cowboys.
Sea Eagles winger Reuben Garrick heads into the final round as the NRL’s leading points scorer on 286 points.
After last week becoming the first player in history to score 20 tries and kick 100 goals in a single season, Garrick needs just three points to break the record for most points in a regular season of 288 set by Hazem El Masri for the Bulldogs in 2004.
El Masri also holds the record for most points in a season (including finals) of 342 achieved in 28 games in 2004.
Furthermore, Garrick is the first player since El Masri in 2004 to score 20-plus points in four games in a season. Michael O’Connor did it in five games for Manly in 1988.
Only two players have achieved 300 points in a season – 342 by El Masri (Bulldogs) in 28 games in 2004 and 308 points by Brett Hodgson (Wests Tigers) in 28 games in 2005.
Garrick also needs one more try to join Bob Fulton, John Hopoate, Scott Donald and Brett Stewart on 21 tries each in a season for Manly.
Jason Saab and Tom Trbojevic sit on 22 tries. Phil Blake holds the record of 27 for most tries in a season for Manly set in 1983.