A win for both sides can give them a home final. A loss for either side can see them drop out of the eight. A draw, well, that’ll ensure both sides play finals football. Maybe that’s the perfect result here?
Regardless of what takes place, all eyes around the league will be on this match up as the ridiculously inconsistent Sea Eagles take on a Panthers side who must bounce back following a disappointing loss last week to the Dragons.
Manly’s escape from the jaws of defeat last week across the ditch kept their finals hopes alive with Daly Cherry-Evans coming clutch on a number of occasions. He’ll certainly have his hands full this week with a blockbuster match up with Nathan Clearly. Dean Whare comes into the side with Dylan Edwards out through injury while Matt Moylan still remains unlikely to take the field, being named in the reserves.
Their attacking mojo suffered somewhat last week and their finals chances did likewise, eliminating their hopes of a top four birth however they’ll have a chance to recapture that against the Sea Eagles who are far from a wall at times at the back. On average, they’ve conceded over 21 points a game in 2017 and the variety of playmaking in the Panthers side will pose problems.
Manly, meanwhile, share the workload better than most in the competition, with their backs providing more than adequate assistance to their forwards as they cut through lines with ease at times. They have the fourth-most line breaks in the competition and as a result, have the fourth-most prolific attack in the league as well, something that will prove hard to stop for the Panthers this weekend.
This game has all the makings of a cracker with the repercussions potentially ending one teams season. The home side is slight favourites however their average home form this season has us with doubts.
Panthers by 2.
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