MANLY SEA EAGLES v NEWCASTLE KNIGHTS
Round 9, 2015 NRL Premiership
Date: Sunday May 10
Venue: Brookvale Oval
Referee: Adam Devcich
Last time they met:
Daly Cherry-Evans broke Knights’ hearts when he bagged a late field goal in Round 10 last year, securing the Sea Eagles a 15-14 win at Brookvale.
The Knights don’t have the best record against Manly, having won only 17 of their 44 games against them. They have also only won 4 of their 23 games at Brookvale.
Winning at Brookvale has been a tall order for the Knights for years now and while the Sea Eagles aren’t playing anywhere near their best, this will still be a big challenge for the Novocastrians.
Manly sit at the bottom of the ladder after eight rounds, their start to the 2015 season crippled by injuries to big players as well as the off-season loss of club legends Anthony Watmough and Glenn Stewart.
The Knights have problems of their own, having lost their last four games.
Despite this they are still only one win away from jumping back into the top half of the table and this will be something firmly in the minds of the players when they take to the field on Sunday afternoon.
“There’s that rivalry between the clubs that goes back a long way, back to probably ‘97 when Newcastle lost their last ten against them before that monumental Grand Final victory,” Director of Football Michael Hagan explains.
“That rivalry has always been there and it will be there again on Sunday.”
Brookvale Oval has been out of use since Round 3 due to the condition of the pitch, but this week normal service will resume at the ground with the NRL giving the all clear.
This in itself will be a big boost for the home side, according to Hagan.
“There’s no secret that they are a better team at Brookvale than they are elsewhere and they’ve had a fairly disjointed start to the year being away from Brookvale longer than planned,” he says.
“I’m sure the Manly faithful will be there on Sunday and we’re going to have to really prepare well to get the job done down there."
The Knights had plenty of players participating in the Representative Round and they all played well.
Of the 13 that played, four scored (James McManus, Akuila Uate, Tariq Sims and Chanel Mata’utia) and 10 won the game that they were involved in.
Hagan hopes that they will be able to carry their good form into this weekend.
“There’s a lot of confidence carried over from the weekend, we had various players on teams last weekend and it’s about their recovery early in the week,” he says.
Beau Scott will also be making a return after sitting out for four weeks with an ankle injury picked up against the Dragons.
The Knights haven’t won since he was sidelined and his staunch defensive game has evidently been missed.
“I think we’ve definitely missed him on the right-hand side as he has a good influence on the rest of the team, but I don’t think we can expect him to get the job done on his own,” Hagan says.
“We need all of our team to do their job well and I think Beau will be lacking match fitness as well, so it will take him a week or two to get back onto the pace.”
Where it will be won
Willie Mason was Kade Snowden’s partner in crime and Korbin Sim’s mentor when he was at the Knights.
It will be interesting to see how the game unfolds in the middle of the park between these three.
“The forward pack is where we definitely need to be really good, and I guess with Brookvale Oval and the conditions there, your kicking game needs to be really good as well,” Hagan says.
“From talking to the guys here, everyone has come back from the week off really refreshed and ready to go,” winger James McManus said in an interview on Tuesday morning.