Manly Warringah Sea Eagles will be out to keep their season alive in Mackay this Friday night in Week Two of the Telstra Premiership Finals.
Let’s take a look at some of the key facts heading into the sold-out Elimination Finals match against the Sydney Roosters. Kick-off is 7.50pm.
Manly hooker Lachlan Croker has been named to make his return after missing last week’s finals clash with the Melbourne Storm with lower back tightness.
The Roosters have lost hooker Sam Verrills to suspension.
The match at BB Print Stadium in Mackay holds extra special meaning for Sea Eagles half-back and captain Daly Cherry-Evans, who moved to the Queensland city at the age of 12 after being raised in Redcliffe.
“Mackay was a massive part of my childhood and a big part of my rugby league development. I can’t wait to get up there. Hopefully the Mackay crowd can get behind the Sea Eagles,’’ Cherry-Evans said this week.
The Roosters have played twice at BB Print Stadium since shifting to Queensland, with wins over the Eels and Raiders.
The Key Battles
Much of the pre-game hype has been around the battle of brilliant full-backs Tom Trbojevic and James Tedesco with the NSW Origin stars coming up against each other for the first time in 2021.
Trbojevic has taken all before him this season with 25 tries in 15 matches while Tedesco has been outstanding in an injury-riddled Roosters team.
If the Sea Eagles can find plenty of good yardage up the middle and allow halves Kieran Foran and Daly Cherry-Evans to create opportunities, look out for ‘Turbo’ to light up the attack again after being well contained against the Melbourne Storm.
The battle of the props will also go a long way to determining the result with Manly's Martin Taupau and Josh Aloiai looking to gain the much needed metres advantage over the Roosters' Jared Waerea-Hargreaves and Isaac Liu.
The match sees Martin Taupau play his 200th NRL game. Taupau has played 133 games for the Sea Eagles since joining the club in 2016 after previous stints with the Wests Tigers and Canterbury.
Dylan Walker will play his 100th Club game for the Sea Eagles since joining Manly from South Sydney in 2016.
Last Time We Met
It is a long way from the SCG where the two teams last met. The Roosters won the round one clash 46-4 but the Sea Eagles were without Tom Trbojevic for the game.
The last time the Sea Eagles and the Roosters met in a finals match was the 2013 Grand Final, won 26-18 by the Roosters.
Foran and Cherry-Evans are the only two players who remain from the Manly side.
135 games: Sea Eagles 85, Roosters 48, 2 drawn
Last Five matches: Roosters 4, Sea Eagles 1
Past Five Games: Sea Eagles won 4, lost 1; Roosters won 4, lost 1
Tom Trbojevic and exciting winger Jason Saab are within striking range of breaking the club record for most tries in a season for Manly (including finals).
Phil Blake holds the record of 27 tries in 24 games in 1983. Trbojevic and Saab sit on 25 tries each.
Points scoring machine Reuben Garrick needs one point to move into second position on the NRL's '300 points in a season' records list.
Garrick is on 308 points alongside Brett Hodgson who achieved the feat in 28 games in Wests Tigers premiership winning 2005 season.
Hazem El Masri holds the record of 342 points in 28 games in Canterbury’s premiership winning year of 2004.