The Cumberland Throw

Match Preview – Eels vs Sea Eagles (Round 22)

MP Eels Round 22


Date: Friday 5th August

Venue: Pirtek Stadium

Gates Open: 5:30pm

Kick off: 7:50pm (NYC 5:35pm)

Head Referee: Matt Cecchin

Assistant Referee: Chris James

Head to head: Played 135, Sea Eagles 82, Eels 49, drawn 4

Head to head odds: Sea Eagles ($ 1.45), Eels ($ 2.95)

Broadcast: Live Channel 9 – Coverage from 7:30pm


Last four encounters:


  1. Eels 22, Sea Eagles 10 at Brookvale Oval (2016)
  2. Eels 20, Sea Eagles 16 at Brookvale Oval (2015)
  3. Eels 42, Sea Eagles 12 at Pirtek Stadium (2015)
  4. Eels 22, Sea Eagles 12 at Pirtek Stadium (2014)



This Friday nights round twenty-two encounter will feature the undermanned Parramatta Eels up against the rejuvenated Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. The Eels enter this one off the back of three straight losses and Manly are hitting some impressive form. However, punters should be aware that the Eels had lost quite a few troops due to injury throughout this sequence of losses and they are welcoming back three stars this week.

Eels and Sea Eagles encounters are generally fiery match ups and are always worth tuning in to watch. I encourage fans of both teams to do just that.


Value Bet:

My value bet is for Eels centre Michael Jennings to claim the first try at $13. In the first try market, the Eels have Bevan French at $7.50 and Michael Jennings at $13 whereas the Sea Eagles have Jorge Taufua at $7 and Matthew Wright at $9.50.


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 seasons the Eels have turned the tables and have claimed four wins from their past four games against Manly.


It will be a big game for:

This game shapes as being a big one for Eels centre Michael Jennings. Until his recent injury, Jennings looked to be in his best form of the season. He had just come off scoring the winning try in State of Origin Three and he looked in ominous touch when facing the Panthers later that week. In fact that game changed following Jennings’ departure, and the Eels went on to lose the match.

In the Eels past three losses Jennings has been sorely missed as it has been clearly obvious the Eels are missing some much needed flare in attack, especially without the likes of Corey Norman and Semi Radradra. This week Jennings will either come face to face with Brayden William or Lewis Brown who have been named to replace Lyon and Matai. Jennings will fancy his chances to take on either of these two given their relative inexperience in those positions.

Although Jennings does not have Semi Radradra playing outside him, he does have the solid Vai Toutai who now possesses  vastly improved handling skills and does not look out of place in the NRL. Jennings should be able to make very good use of Toutai if given the opportunity.



Danger man:

This week’s danger man is Sea Eagles young gun fullback Tom Trbojevic.

Since moving to fullback following an injury to Sea Eagles first-string fullback Brett Stewart, Tom Trbojevic’s game has moved to another level. Coming through the ARL system, Trbojevic had always preferred the position of fullback. However, whilst being at the Sea Eagles under Brett Stewart, the opportunities to play fullback were few and far between.

Trbojevic is a player with great speed and tackle busting ability. He only needs half a gap to create a try scoring opportunity. In the modern game speed would be almost the most valuable commodity to have. Trbojevic’s talents become even more enhanced when he is running off the likes of Daly Cherry Evans who would have to be among the games very best ball players. The Eels must mark up heavily on young Tom Trbojevic who has already proven himself to be the most potent attacking weapon for the Sea Eagles.



Team lists:


Parramatta Eels (14th coming into the round, *12 points deducted)


  1. Michael Gordon
  2. Vai Toutai
  3. Michael Jennings
  4. Brad Takairangi
  5. Bevan French
  6. Clint Gutherson
  7. Jeff Robson
  8. Danny Wicks
  9. Issac De Gois
  10. Tim Mannah
  11. Manu Ma’u
  12. Tepai Moeroa
  13. Beau Scott (C)


  1. Kaysa Pritchard
  2. Peni Terepo
  3. Kenny Edwards
  4. Daniel Alvaro


  1. David Gower


Coach: Brad Arthur


Late mail: No late changes expected for the Eels. Expect them to take the field as named.


Manly Warringah Sea Eagles (11th coming into the round)


  1. Tom Trbojevic
  2. Jorge Taufua
  3. Lewis Brown
  4. Brayden Wiliame
  5. Matthew Wright
  6. Dylan Walker
  7. Daly Cherry Evans
  8. Darcy Lussick
  9. Apisai Koroisau
  10. Martin Taupau
  11. Nathan Green
  12. Jamie Buhrer
  13. Jake Trbojevic


  1. Blake Leary
  2. Josh Starling
  3. Addin Fonua Blake
  4. Siosaia Vave


  1. Nate Myles, 23. Matt Parcell


Coach: Trent Barrett


Late mail: There is always a possibility that both Nate Myles and Matt Parcell will force their way into the Sea Eagles top seventeen. Expect Myles to replace Addin Fonua Blake and Matt Parcell to replace Blake Leary if this is the case.

  Two key match ups:


Jeff Robson vs Daly Cherry Evans:

The first key match up is a battle between halfbacks as former Sea Eagle now Eels half Jeff Robson squares off against superstar Sea Eagles half Daly Cherry Evans.

This season has been a fairly mixed one for both the Manly Sea Eagles and Daly Cherry-Evans. Cherry-Evans has had a few niggling injuries across the course of the season which has affected his ability to sustain good form and Manly’s overall game direction.

Cherry-Evans may only be twenty-seven years old but has achieved a lot in the modern game. The man they call DCE has already represented his country and his state and has won a premiership with his beloved Manly Warringah Sea Eagles. Furthermore, in 2014 Cherry-Evans was named Dally M halfback of the year.

Despite being an undeniable natural talent Cherry-Evans has been on the outer from both the Australian and Queensland teams of late, though probably only due to the strength in the halves in Queensland and Australian teams. No matter how good you are as a halfback it’s very hard if not impossible to be selected ahead of the likes of Cooper Cronk and Johnathan Thurston, so we shouldn’t read too much into that.

DCE is strong, has a good dummy, a great kicking game, a great passing game and more often than not makes the perfect decision when put under pressure. The Eels defensive efforts of the past couple of weeks have been fairly questionable and this could spell danger signs for the Eels if Cherry Evans is on his game. The Eels are going to want to put in a very good defensive effort if they are to have any chance of defeating the Sea Eagles.

Eels halfback Jeff Robson is doing an adequate job considering how many big names the Eels have sitting on the sidelines. As I mentioned in last week’s preview, no one could have expected that he would have been the Eels halfback come round twenty-two of this season. Robson has never been your most flashy player, he’s more of your no frills, tradesman halfback. He’s a very solid, consistent performer, consistency being something the Eels have lacked over the past few years. The Eels will be hoping Robson can maintain his calm presence under pressure in what will likely be a wet Pirtek Stadium.



Danny Wicks vs Darcy Lussick:

The second key match up is a battle of the prop forwards as Eels hard man Danny Wicks faces former Eel Darcy Lussick.

Lussick is a man who originally started his career at the Manly Sea Eagles; he played thirty-one games for them before departing to join archrival the Parramatta Eels. He had a great season for the Eels in 2013, where he stood out in an ordinary team. In the following two seasons, Lussick never surpassed his 2013 form and in both 2014 and 2015 was in and out of the Eels first choice seventeen.

So far this season Darcy Lussick has been a fairly consistent performer for the Sea Eagles and over the past month his talents have really shone through. In the Sea Eagles last three wins against the Warriors, Rabbitohs and Knights, Lussick has made over 200m in a couple of those games. Indeed, on average Lussick makes about twelve runs a game and averages about 121 metres per game. Those statistics would bring a smile to many Sea Eagles supporters faces.

At 193 centimetres and 114 kilograms, it is little wonder why Lussick is capable of producing a few 200 metres per game matches. He is a man who plays the game with great aggression and in the past this aggression has got Lussick in a bit of trouble which has ultimately hurt his teams’ chances of victory. Currently Lussick seems to have controlled his aggression and is using it for a better purpose. The Eels middle men will do well to be on their guard when Lussick is charging towards them.

Eels front rower Danny Wicks has been one of the few Eels forwards to have managed to stay on the park for most of the season. He has been able to average a total of 108 metres per game whilst averaging 11 runs per game for the Eels this season. Wicks looks likely to be at the club for a few more years to come, and alongside Mannah he shapes as being a leader of the Eels forward pack into the future.

At his best Wicks is a player who can make the tough runs, make good meters and deliver a nice offload or two when the time calls for it. Given the depletion of the Eels line up over the course of the season it is crucial that whoever remains in the Eels top seventeen delivers the best performance possible for the club. Eels fans will be hopeful Wicks can deliver.



My tip:

On paper this looks like it’s going to be a close win going the way of the Sea Eagles. However the Eels have made a season out of defying the odds. Although being out of the running for the top eight this season, the Eels will be a danger team to come up against this time of year. After all, had they not been stripped of twelve competition points they would be in the top eight.

The Sea Eagles have been inconsistent this season but have found form lately. The Eels have won their past four matches against the Sea Eagles and have a good record at Pirtek Stadium against their old enemy. For those reasons put me down for an Eels win – Eels 18, Sea Eagles 14.


Man of the match: Michael Jennings or Daly Cherry Evans


Enjoy the game, GO THE EELS !!!



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3 thoughts on “Match Preview – Eels vs Sea Eagles (Round 22)

  1. Butters

    With nothing to play for, a shithouse season and another kick in the guts with Hayne my Crowd prediction is: 7k, Lowest in a long time

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