Manly try to keep season alive on Thursday Night Football
The start of round 23 sees us travel out to Homebush for what promises to be a superb clash between two rivals.
Manly can ill afford to drop points in this game and if they do, they can pretty much kiss their finals hopes goodbye. They had a heartbreaking defeat last week against Parramatta in a match they should had won. This comes down to do or die for the Sea Eagles. Will sudden death football Bring out the best in them?
Canterbury are chugging along without an awful lot of conviction of late. They weathered a mini fight back by Newcastle last week to win 28-14 and move inside the top 4. They say that winning games when you’re not at your best is the sign of a champion team. Will that continue to ring true for the Bulldogs?
With the retirement of Sam Perrett there is now added motivation for the Bulldogs to take out the premiership.
Last meeting: Round 1 2016 – Sea Eagles 6 Bulldogs 28
The Bulldogs have won the past 5 in a row against Manly and have won the last two games played between the two at ANZ Stadium.
Who to watch: For Canterbury it’s sure to be an emotional back end of the season for Sam Perrett. He announced his retirement on Wednesday and his presence on the wing will be missed next year for the Bulldogs. In 242 games he has amassed 90 tries and is not only dependable defensively and under the high ball but is also an accomplished finisher. Look for him to be darting out of dummy half to help out the forwards and also steal some cheap metres. Don’t be surprised to see him on the score sheet on Thursday night either.
Manly need to win this game and you can guarantee that outgoing captain Jamie Lyon will be doing everything in his power to extend his playing career and keep the Sea Eagles finals hopes alive. Lyon returns in the halves and his kicking play will be pivotal in Manly success on Thursday night. He will also be given the task to take pressure off halves partner Daly Cherry Evans. Their combination has been very good of late. Don’t count him out to be taking on the line and attempting to find some tired defenders close to the line, he is still a very good runner of the football.
The favourite: Canterbury warm favourites for this clash at home.
My tip: With Manly’s season on the line, you would think they would put everything into this game, the Bulldogs have been a bit flat lately and although I think this will get better in the coming weeks Manly will squeeze home in this one. Manly by 2.