Sea Eagles v Raiders: Wright on wing, Austin dropped
Ricky Stuart's Canberra Raiders side is under pressure to perform after three defeats and take on a Manly Sea Eagles desperate to bounce back from a shock defeat last weekend.
The Raiders are set to be without Charlie Gubb due to a groin injury but will be hopeful of Joseph Tapine making a return from his thumb injury.
After destroying Parramatta 54-0 in round two the Sea Eagles slumped to a 34-6 defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last week and are chasing consistency in a week in which the club has been fined for salary cap breaches.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles v Canberra Raiders, 7.35pm Saturday at Lottoland
The key match-up: The battle up-front will be crucial in this clash with the likes of Manly's Addin Fonua-Blake and Marty Taupau locking horns with Shannon Boyd, Josh Papalii and Junior Paulo.
For the Sea Eagles to win: The loss of Jorge Taufua is a big one, but if Manly can control the ball they can get on a roll as seen against Parramatta in their 54-0 romp in round two.
For the Raiders to win: Defence and line-speed for 80 minutes will be crucial for Canberra if they are to break their run of outs and record their first win of the year. The Raiders rank fourth in attack this season with 75 points but they've conceded 80 in their three tight defeats.
Sea Eagles Stat Attack: Martin Taupau is the NRL's most prolific offloader after three rounds, with 13.
Raiders Stat Attack: Defence again came back to hurt Canberra last round, with 30 ineffective tackles against the Warriors.
And another thing: Games between the sides have been close recently, with Manly winning both of their 2017 clashes in golden point.
Prediction: Sea Eagles by 6.
Sea Eagles: 1 Tom Trbojevic, 2 Matthew Wright, 3 Brad Parker, 4 Brian Kelly, 5 Akuila Uate, 6 Lachlan Croker, 7 Daly Cherry-Evans (c), 8 Addin Fonua-Blake, 9 Apisai Koroisau, 10 Martin Taupau, 11 Joel Thompson, 12 Curtis Sironen, 13 Jake Trbojevic
Interchange: 14 Jackson Hastings, 15 Shaun Lane, 16 Lloyd Perrett, 17 Kelepi Tanginoa
The Sea Eagles are 1-17. Matthew Wright replaces Jorge Taufua on the wing in Manly's only change.
Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton, 2 Nick Cotric, 3 Jarrod Croker (c), 4 Joseph Leilua, 5 Jordan Rapana, 6 Aiden Sezer, 7 Sam Williams, 8 Iosia Soliola, 9 Siliva Havili, 10 Shannon Boyd, 11 Josh Papalii, 17 Joseph Tapine, 12 Elliott Whitehead
Interchange: 13 Luke Bateman, 14 Ata Hingano, 15 Junior Paulo, 16 Dunamis Lui
Joseph Tapine starts in the second row, Elliott Whitehead shifts to lock and Luke Bateman drops back to the bench. Blake Austin, Lima Knight, Michael Oldfield and Jack Murchie were all cut from the initial 21-man squad.
Match: Sea Eagles v Raiders
Round 4 -
- Fox League
- LIVE PASS
Head-to-head: 53 games, Sea Eagles 32 wins, Raiders 20 wins
Matches at venue: Sea Eagles 17 wins, Raiders 10 wins
Last five head-to-head: Sea Eagles 3 wins, Raiders 2 wins
2017 results: Sea Eagles won 20-18 in round 8 and 21-20 in round 13
Points per game: Sea Eagles 26; Raiders 25
Points conceded per game: Sea Eagles 17.7; Raiders 26.7
Televised: Live on Fox League