MATCH UP STATS
Round 11 ResultsCanberra Raiders: Raiders 18 defeated by Dragons 25Manly Sea Eagles: Sea Eagles 24 defeated Storm 4
6pm Friday May 25, 2018, at GIO Stadium
TWO teams that were considered shoo-ins to miss the eight at certain stages this season meet on Friday night in a game that could see the victor inserted into the finals frame.
The Manly Sea Eagles have been on a tear recently, easily accounting for the Broncos before smashing the Smith-less Storm at AAMI Park by 20-points last week.
After looking like 2018 was going to be a wasted year for the Sea Eagles, a third-straight win on Friday night would place them within striking distance of a top-eight berth.
The Canberra Raiders won four matches in a row before conceding wins to the Cronulla Sharks and the Dragons in consecutive weeks.
While their 4-7 record is not ideal, a win at home would place the Green Machine in a much healthier position given their next two games are against the in-form Panthers and Tigers.
The Canberra Raiders were crunched by Manly back in round 4, which could give the visitors the psychological edge heading into this pivotal clash.
Players to watch – Raiders v Sea Eagles
Raiders – Blake Austin: The gun five-eighth backed himself in to earn the big bucks in the nation’s capital after delaying contract talks, which means the spotlight will be on him to produce. Skipper Jarrod Croker said the team was “lost” without Austin while he recovered from an ankle injury, and now it’s time Austin provides his team with some much needed spark.
Sea Eagles – Daly Cherry-Evans: DCE is going to be the linchpin of the Sea Eagles offence on Friday night. The play-making sensation was great last week in the spiteful clash against the Storm, setting up a crunch try that effectively sealed the match. A similar effort will be needed from Cherry-Evans if they are to deliver a success here.
1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Blake Austin, 7 Aidan Sezer, 8 Dunamis Lui, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 12 Elliott Whitehead, 13 Iosia Soliola
Interchange: 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Luke Bateman, 16 Charlie Gubb, 17 Liam Knight
Sea Eagles team
1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Jorge Taufua, 3 Moses Suli, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Trent Hodkinson, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Lewis Brown, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Shaun Lane, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Matthew Wright, 15 Frank Winterstein, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Toafofoa Sipley
Raiders v Sea Eagles – who wins?
This looks like a legit toss of the coin match up heading into round 12 but there are a few factors in the Raiders’ favour heading into Friday night.
While they are coming off the back of two losses, GIO Stadium should be a fortress for the home side. No venue in Australia is quite like Canberra as winter sets in, and while the Raiders will be used to the cold conditions, there’s every possibility Manly takes awhile to adjust.
Further to that, gun pairing Dylan Walker and Api Koroisau miss the game, tipping the scales slightly towards Canberra.
We’re backing the Green Machine to win in what should be a tight contest in the nation’s capital.
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