Round 1 Preview: Newcastle Knights vs Manly Sea Eagles

Newcastle Knights v Manly Sea Eagles

Date: Saturday, February 24

Location: Hunter Stadium
Time: 6pm (NSW) 5:00pm (QLD) 8pm (NZ)

Newcastle Knights 1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 3. Sione Mata’utia 4. Tautau Moga 5. Nathan Ross 6. Connor Watson 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. Herman Ese’ese 9. Slade Griffin 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Aidan Guerra 13. Mitch Barnett

Interchange: 14. Brock Lamb, 15. Chris Heighington, 16. Jamie Buhrer, 17. Daniel Saifiti

Reserves: 18. Ken Sio, 19. Jacob Saifiti, 20. Danny Levi, 21. Luke Yates
Sea Eagles 1. Tom Trbojevic 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Matthew Wright 4. Brian Kelly 5. Akuila Uate 6. Lachlan Croker 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. Martin Taupau 11. Joel Thompson 12. Curtis Sironen 13. Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14. Lewis Brown, 15. Shaun Lane, 16. Frank Winterstein, 17. Kelepi Tanginoa

Reserves: 18. Bradley Parker, 19. Jackson Hastings, 20. Jack Gosiewski, 21. Lloyd Perrett The Knights will be hopefully for a round 1 victory for the first time since 2015 when they face Manly on Friday afternoon, while Manly will be looking to put an off season full of salary cap related drama behind them. We will see a bunch of new faces representing the club for the first time in an NRL match, Pearce, Ponga, Thompson and Crocker just to name a few. These two sides only met once last year and it was Manly taking the two points, this was largely due to a refereeing error that saw them awarded a try when replays clearly proved it wasn't. We may be watching the future origin fullbacks for both NSW and Queensland going head to head with one of the Knights many new recruits Ponga going against Tom Trbojevic. Both players will be looking to add the attacking edge their side needs to take the two points. The battle of the big men will be important like every other match and when talking about big men they don't get much bigger than Taupau and Ese’ese. Both men will be looking to dominate the other and whoever wins this battle will go a long way to insuring their side when's the match. As for halves this is where the game potentially could be won or lost, both sides will be running out a new halves pairing that are yet to start a game with one another, though the pairing of Pearce and Watson are at least familiar with each other's games through their time together at the Roosters, Manly have released the man that seem to be the glue of their side last year in Green. With Cherry-Evans having an inexperienced partner will this cause him to over play his hand or will Croker fit in just right for the side from the Northern Beaches. Prediction:
It won't be an easy travel north for Manly but with so many new faces playing for the Knight's together for the first time in an NRL match I believe they will struggle to gel quick enough to trouble the Sea Eagles. Manly to start the season with a 7-12 point victory. -Boom


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