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Sea Eagles vs Eels OFFICIAL MATCH DAY BLOG (Round 1)
Date: Sunday 5th of March
Gates Open: 1:30
Kick off: 4:00pm (NYC 1:45pm)
Head Referee: Grant Atkins
Assistant Referee: Chris Butler
Head to head: Played 136, Sea Eagles 82, Eels 50, drawn 4
Head to head odds: Sea Eagles ($ 1.77), Eels ($ 2.10)
Broadcast: Live Channel 9 – Coverage from 3:30pm
Last four encounters:
01. Eels 10, Sea Eagles 9 at Pirtek Stadium (2016)
01. Eels 22, Sea Eagles 10 at Brookvale Oval (2016)
02. Eels 20, Sea Eagles 16 at Brookvale Oval (2015)
03. Eels 42, Sea Eagles 12 at Pirtek Stadium (2015)
Preview: Well it's finally here and round one of the 2017 season NRL season is finally upon us, the honour of closing out round one this season will go to the long time rivals the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and the Parramatta Eels who will do battle at Lottoland (formally Brookvale Oval) this Sunday. Over the years the Eels and Sea Eagles have played out a very storied rivalry, a rivalry that continues to burn strong until this very day. Both the Eels and the Sea Eagles enter this game on the verge of a new day, for the Eels they enter this encounter off the back of losing a number of key players, none bigger than their former captain Kieran Foran who has been replaced by former Sea Eagle Clint Gutherson. As for the Sea Eagles they will be without the likes of Jamie Lyon, Steve Matai and Brett Stewart, veterans who have been around the club for a very long time, so you could say that the Sea Eagles and the Eels enter this encounter in very similar situations. In conclusion I'll say let the footy season begin and tune into this one any way you can, it's sure to be interesting to say the very least.
Value Bet: My value bet for this one is for the Eels to claim the victory by a margin of 13 points or more, which is priced at $5 (all odds via Sportsbet). As for the first try favourites for both teams the Sea Eagles have Jorge Taufua at $10 and Tom Trbojevic at $10 On the other side of the coin the Eels have Semi Radradra at $9.50 and Bevan French at $10.
Interesting fact: In years gone by it has been the Sea Eagles who have dominated the Eels in the head to head wins statistic, however over the past couple of years the Eels have turned that all around winning their past 5 encounters against the Sea Eagles.
It will be a big game for: This game shapes as being a big one for Eels up start five eighth Clint Gutherson. Whilst Clint Gutherson isn't a complete novice to the five eighth having played the position in a number of games last season and in his U20s career, one could say it's not the most memorable place NRL fans would be used to seeing Gutherson play. However thanks to a promising end to his 2016 season in which he played a number of games as five eighth, Eels coach Brad Arthur has chosen to keep the faith in the young Eels back, giving him the first opportunity in 2017 to make the five eighth position his own. Eels fans will be wanting and expecting Gutherson to play a steady hand in the role, if but nothing else than to accommodate the game of now Eels halfback Corey Norman, whom despite off field dramas had an excellent 2016 season, even placing amongst the top point getters in the 2016 Dally M medal award count. In terms of your traditional five eighths Gutherson is nothing of the sort, he is very much a player who relies on his own instinct and running the ball is definitely a strong suit for him, giving the fact Norman himself is more of a complete playmaker, Gutherson is aloud to play more of a supporting role. One could imagine in terms of play making Gutherson might even share some of his load with Eels fullback Bevan French and now hooker Kaysa Pritchard whom himself looks set for a big match as the only hooker selected in the squad of 17 (this may change given the fact Cameron King has been selected in the 21 man squad and he may be selected in the final 17 come kick off). Gutherson is also a former Manly Sea Eagles player and grudge matches against an old team are always high on players agenda, adding to the fact Gutherson will be determined to start his 2017 season with a bang. If the Eels were to win this one come Sunday one could speculate Gutherson would have played a rather good game.
Danger man: This week’s danger man is Sea Eagles fullback Tom Trbojevic. As mentioned in the preview it could be seen as a new day at the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles given the fact some old heads that have been at the club for many years are on the way out. Trbojevic a young man who has been earmarked to take the number one jersey from Brett Stewart at manly for many years finally gets his big chance in 2017 with the recent retirement of Brett Stewart. Trbojevic has been a very highly touted youngster for many years now and the fact that Trebojevic gets the opportunity he now possesses is no fluke, he has had an excellent past couple of years playing all over the Sea Eagles backline, Trbojevic has played both wing, centre and fullback since debuting for Manly in 2015. Trbojevic presents much danger for the Eels defensive line from pretty well anywhere on the park, Trbojevic is an attacking dynamo blessed with plenty of speed, evasiveness, tackle break ability and try scoring ability, the Eels defence would be wise to be on guard at all times when the ball is in Trbojevic's possession. Trbojevic would very much like to start his 2017 season off with a bang as a good start to this season for Trbojevic may very well lead to selection in the NSW Origin team, possibly on the wing, given the vacancy currently left by Penrith Panthers winger Josh Mansour. Trbojevic's height also make him a danger for potential aerial assaults by the Sea Eagles, look for Manly to kick for Trbojevic quite frequently in attacking field positions given his height and abilities in the air. So for the many reasons covered above its safe to say Tom Trbojevic has the potential to pose a real danger to the Eels come Sunday.
Manly Warringah Sea Eagles
01. Tom Trebojevic
02. Jorge Taufua
03. Dylan Walker
04. Brian Kelly
05. Akuila Uate
06. Blake Green
07. Daly Cherry Evans (C)
08. Brenton Lawrence
09. Apisai Koroisau
10. Martin Taupau
11. Frank Winterstein
12. Curtis Sironen
13. Jake Trebojevic
14. Lewis Brown
15. Nate Myles
16. Addin Fonua-Blake
17. Lloyd Perrett
18. Jarrad Kennedy
19. Cameron Cullen
20. Matthew Wright
21. Johnathan Wright
Coach: Trent Barrett
Late mail: No late mail for Sea Eagles at this point in time, expect them to remain 1-17.
01. Bevan French
02. Semi Radradra
03. Michael Jennings
04. Brad Takairangi
05. Josh Hoffman
06. Clint Gutherson
07. Corey Norman
08. Suaia Matagi
09. Kaysa Pritchard
10. Tim Mannah (C)
11. Manu Ma’u
12. Tepai Moeroa
13. Beau Scott (C)
14. Nathan Brown
15. Daniel Alvaro
16. Rory O’ Brien
17. Frank Pritchard
18. Jamal Fogarty
19. Cameron King
20. David Gower
21. Scott Schulte
Coach: Brad Arthur
Late mail: Much like the Sea Eagles no late changes expected for the Eels, expect them to remain 1-17.
2 key match ups:
01. Daly Cherry Evans vs Corey Norman: The first key match up I’d like to highlight for this one will feature as a battle of the halfbacks with the Sea Eagles Captain Daly Cherry Evans lining up to face Parramatta Eels superstar Corey Norman. Cory Norman as I mentioned briefly earlier in this preview comes off the back of a fairly promising 2016 NRL season, however lets just say Norman’s 2016 season ended in rather disappointing fashion due to off field misbehavior. 2016 was a very tough season for the Eels, a season where the Eels were heavily fined by the NRL, stripped of NRL completion points due to salary cap misconduct and lost a number of star players mid season including Nathan Peats, Junior Paulo and Kieran Foran. One could argue without all these penalties, misfortunes and ramifications the Eels would have easily made the top eight, however that’s not the way things panned out. In an otherwise dark season for the Eels, Corey Norman became a shining light up until his suspension. One could say last season Corey Norman went from being a good player who occasionally plays a good game to a good player who more often than not plays a good game. You could say this now means Norman’s is amongst the NRL top line halves, however one could argue 2017 will be Norman’s defining season in terms of how good he can really be. Had Norman not been involved with off field misdemeanors last season one could argue he may be the Eels captain today, sure Tim Mannah and Beau Scott are very reliable leaders however Norman’s name would have definitely been in the mix for captaincy had he not slipped up off the field. Norman may very well still captain the Eels one day however that all depends on his future endeavors at the club and whether Norman can continue playing good football and being a role model both on and off the field. Norman’s path to redemption starts this Sunday and he will be hoping and aiming to lead the Eels to victory over arch rivals the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Now moving onto Sea Eagles halfback and captain Daly Cherry Evans who he himself will be looking to have a massive 2017 season. Cherry Evans marks the 2017 season with a new halves partner in former Eel Blake Green. Green had a couple of impressive seasons at the Melbourne Storm before departing the franchise at the end of last season. Moving back to Cherry Evans we all know he is a very good young halfback, perhaps amongst the best in the game on his day and the Eels will know a lot of the Sea Eagles attack will come from the man they call DCE. Cherry Evans possesses a strong short/long kicking game, excellent passing game and adequate running game, to say the very least he’s exactly what you want in your modern day halfback, one could say if Manly win come Sunday against the Eels plenty of points will come from the hands/boot of Daly Cherry Evans. Cherry Evans has lost some key personnel in strike power including Jamie Lyon, Brett Stewart and Steve Matai however one could expect Cherry Evans is ready to make some new stars at Manly and what better place to start than at Lottoland this Sunday against the Eels.
02. Jake Trebojevic vs Beau Scott: The second key match up I would like to highlight for this one features as a battle of the lock forwards with Sea Eagles young gun Jake Trebojevic lining up to face Eels veteran Beau Scott. One could argue last season was one of Beau Scott’s best in recent memory; he spent a lot of time on field, which is always ideal and was back to his dominant best in both attack and defense. Scott is a very valuable part of the Eels forward pack and team (given the fact he is captain) Scott offers experience into a talented yet youthful Eels forward pack, which is always good, as you want that mixture of youth and experience throughout your team. In terms of standout features in his play there isn’t a whole lot to talk about, Scott isn’t the most dynamic try scoring back rower nor is he the hardest hitting player in the game. However it is the intensity at which Scott plays the game that makes him such an asset to this Eels line up. Scott is one of the few player in the game that can play the game so hard and intensely that he can even put off the likes of Johnathan Thurston to the point where they actually play a bad game, this makes Scott a valuable commodity in Origin (in recent years) as well given the fact he can play such a role against the likes of Johnathan Thurston, however in saying this Scott missed out of Origin last season, perhaps a motivating factor for Scott to make this season even greater than his last in hopes of attaining a NSW Origin jersey once more. This Sunday’s encounter between the Eels and Sea Eagles is expected to be fairly physical and if that’s the case you can expect Beau Scott to be front and center for the blue and gold effort. Also amongst the players that will be front and center come Sunday look no further than Sea Eagles young gun back rower Jake Trebojevic. Jake Trebojevic enjoyed a very strong 2016 NRL season, a season where he was almost selected for the 3rd and final game of State of Origin for NSW. Although he did not represent NSW last season on could say Trebojevic is almost certain to represent NSW in the future. Adding to the hype that is Jake Trebojevic is the fact he was almost named Manly Sea Eagles captain over the course of the off season, despite slightly missing out on the job to now captain Daly Cherry Evans it just goes to show how many people think highly of Trebojevic both at Manly and NSW Origin. Trebojevic is almost a throwback to players of the 70’s and 80’s. He plays the game hard and fast; he runs hard and tackles hard not to mention he has a massive workload around the ruck. All these things sound simple however its quite often how well great players do the simple things that separates them from the rest and Jake Trebojevic is definitely a great player in the making. I personally see the match up between Trebojevic and Scott to be more than just a match up on paper, expect these guys to come face to face on a number occasions throughout Sunday’s game, I’m really looking forward to this one.
My tip: As I mentioned earlier in my preview I believe the Eels will come out on top in this one. The inclusion of Corey Norman in this one is a big reason why I think this, the Eels are a much different, much better team when Norman is around. As a result I expect the whole Eels line up to lift from his presence and as a result will be too strong for a new look Manly Warringah Sea Eagles outfit. Eels 32, Sea Eagles 18.
Man of the match: Corey Norman or Bevan French
Enjoy the game, GO THE EELS !!!
Great write up Capt!
Eels by 18, Eels 24 Manly 6
Great to see the Captain back on deck with his outstanding game day blogs!
I think we will see a very different Manly this year. Manly played well against the Roosters in the last trial and have 5 new faces in Kelly, Uate, Green, Sironen and Perrett. Six if you include Winterstein as he joined Manly very late in the season. I believe the following changes will make Manly a more competitive team:
- Walker to centre. Walker is a rep quality centre, but a second grade 5/8. This will dramatically improve Manly's attack.
- Green at 5/8. Green's inclusion will be subtle but he will make a big difference in their attack as he plays square and at the line. He will also give Manly a genuine second kicker. He will make DCE's job a lot easier.
- Winterstein and Sironen. Two tall rangy attacking backrowers.
- Taupau in the middle. Taupau can be suspect in defence on the edge against fast halves and has a habit of drifting off and going missing on the edge. But when he plays in the middle he becomes an intimidating enforcer and becomes a lot more dangerous player.
- Trebojevic brothers. Both are wonderful players and I expect they will go to the next level this year.
Good points Dave but have you countered in the Barrett/coach factor?
From all reports he is a very good man manager and can coach. He had heaps of injuries last year and a very different squad. The above players will make a difference this year and they will be even stronger next year when they can spend Brett Stewart and Matai's money on one or two new rep quality players.