NRL Match Preview: Raiders v Sea Eagles
After coming off a narrow win against the Roosters, the Raiders will travel north to Sydney’s Northern Beaches to play Manly. The Raiders will hunting their third straight win whilst Manly will be looking to claw away at a win coming into the match fresh from a bye.
With game one of State of Origin done and dusted the only Raiders representative Josh Papalii, is expected to play against the Sea Eagles.
For Manly’s two Origin representatives, Nate Myles has been named on the bench and Jake Trbojevic has been named to start at lock.
While Wednesday’s Origin will not affect both these sides as much as others, expect these two teams to pile on plenty of points. The last three meetings between these two teams played at the newly named Lottoland, have all provided plenty of points.
Manly will be looking to improve on their poor home form this season, having only won 1/5 at Lottoland. The Raiders away record hasn’t been all that good either, having won 2 from 6 on the road.
Everyone will remember the last time these two teams squared off a little over a month ago, when a Dylan Walker penalty goal during extra time gave Manly a dramatic 20-18 win. It was a match that was played with plenty of fire and when Jordan Rapana scored potentially the try of the season, the match looked all but over.
However Manly fought back and the match went down to the wire with both teams having great chances to clinch it at the end. Manly took their opportunity.
No doubt this weekends clash will be in the back of the minds of both teams. Both coaches will have taken plenty of notes from round eight’s nail bitter, so expect a very tactical and physical game this weekend.
Key Match Ups
Boyd v Tapau
Many people thought that Test prop Shannon Boyd was unlucky to miss out on a NSW jersey. This weekend the 122kg giant will match up against the 112kg Marty Tapau.
Both men have been exceptional for their respective teams. For Tapau it’s been his strong running game, currently sitting at an average of 165m running metres per game. Boyd’s defensive display has been most notable, currently having a successful tackle rate of 93%.
The performance of these men through the middle will be key for both sides looking to draw in defenders to create space out wide.
Whitehead v Winterstein
Two silent achievers for both sides this season will come up against each other this weekend, both named to start at second row. Both men have played 11 games this season with Whitehead scoring three tries and assisting two, while Winterstein has scored one and assisted two.
Both have been exceptional in defensive roles as Winterstein has only missed 14 tackles from a total of 260 (95%) and Whitehead only 36 from 374 (90%).
Having scored less points than Whitehead as well as having fewer average running metres, Winterstein has been consistent, having only made one error all season compared to Whiteheads nine.
It will be interesting to see which player has more influence for their respective teams, however no doubt that both players will be looking to improve on good recent form.
Cotric v Uate
An 18 year old Nick Cotric comes up against the experienced winger in Akuila Uate. Both wingers have played consistent this season, finishing off moves numerous times when their team has needed them.
Most notably both players have been exceptional at giving momentum for their sides with strong carries. Uate is averaging 119 running metres per game compared to Cotric’s 108m. Strong carries are even more evident, Cotric averaging 6 tackle breaks per game compared to Uate’s 4.
Cotric has scored 6 tries this season compared to Uate’s 7, where he incredibly scored four in one match against South Sydney. It will be a battle of young energy against older experience, so expect both players to be well on their toes come Sunday.
Head 2 Head
Manly are currently 6th on the ladder and the Raiders are currently 8th.
Played 52; Raiders 20; Sea Eagles 31; Drawn 1. Both these teams have shown success on their opponent’s home turf as of late. Manly have won six out of the last seven matches played in Canberra while the Raiders haven’t lost at Lottoland since 2014.
The last seven meetings between these two sides have provided us with plenty of points, each game seeing no team score less than 16 points.
Quote of the Week:
“I think we are on the right path and if we can keep completing at around that 80% we should go pretty well”
Boyd on building some momentum to extend winning run to three games.