Manly are back at Brooky against the Knights. Image courtesy of: Getty Images: Mark Nolan
Manly Sea Eagles v Newcastle Knights
Monday May 19 - 7:05 PM (AEST)
Sea Eagles: LWWWL
Following a frustrating loss to Melbourne Storm last round, the Manly Sea Eagles head back to their fortress (Brookvale Oval) to face a Newcastle Knights side that has just two wins from the opening nine rounds. But with one of the the game’s greatest coaches at the helm, the men from the Hunter Valley have the knowledge and experience to get them through the tough times.
Manly's Daly Cherry-Evans is the future Australian half-back, no doubt about it. At 25, the Redcliffe product has an old head on his shoulders. His kicks are pin point, his passes always seem to find their mark and his defensive play is the equal of any forward. Directing the Eagles around last week, DCE pushed for not only an Origin jersey, but a possible starting spot as well. Coach Geoff Toovey has named a relatively unchanged line-up, with James Hasson pushing Tom Symonds to 18th man.
Wayne Bennet can turn them around. That’s what the Knights need to believe. If they listen to him and believe in him, their fortunes can change. But the axe does need to be wielded. Too many players are getting by on incumbency. Darius Boyd hasn't brought his representative form to the club and at times appears disinterested. Others like BJ Leilua are simply making too many basicerrors and discipline is a real issue. The return of veteran Willie Mason is a big boost for the Novocastrians, and young gun Korbin Sims adds that extra punch they need up the middle. Joey Tapine drops to 18th man, with Pat Vaivai heading back to NSW Cup.
Brookvale is a fortress. Teams go there and often just get overwhelmed. It is daunting, with a hostile crowd screaming at you from only a few metres away. If the Knights want to cause an upset on Monday, they need to shut out the fans. Bennet will surely get his men in the right frame of mind, whether that will be enough is another question.
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