2015 NRL Round 1 Betting Preview for Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles thanks to William Hill Australia.
7.45pm AEDT, Friday, March 6
Parramatta Stadium, Sydney
Traditional rivals Parramatta and Manly square off in the first Friday night football game of the season and it should be a belter. More spice has been added with Manly life member Anthony Watmough to debut for the Eels amid speculation Kieran Foran may join him in 2016. This will be fierce.
Brad Arthur has named four debutants for the Eels with Anthony Watmough, Reece Robinson, Brad Takairangi and Beau Champion to don the blue and gold for the first time. Will Hopoate moves to fullback to replace the departed Jarryd Hayne. Manly have a host of injury worries with Jamie Buhrer and Jorge Taufua are both battling medium-term injuries while Steve Matai, is out as well. Feleti Mateo, Willie Mason and Luke Burgess all debut for the understrength Sea Eagles. Brenton Lawrence and Tom Symonds have both been named but are both game-time decisions.
Parramatta and Manly have played in 132 matches with the Sea Eagles holding an 82-46-4 edge. Manly have dominated in recent times as well with six wins in the last eight encounters. Parramatta did win the last encounter 22-12 though and have won three of the last five at Parramatta Stadium. The Eels have not posted 30 points against the Sea Eagles since 2006 while Manly have scored 20-plus in seven of their last eight. Parramatta have a remarkable four former Manly players in their team while the Sea Eagles will field four former Eels themselves. Parramatta coach Brad Arthur is a former Sea Eagles assistant.
The Eels had a mixed pre-season with a trial loss to the Wests Tigers in Alice Springs before Reece Robinson dominated a big trial victory over Penrith. Parramatta reached the semis of the Auckland Nines. The Sea Eagles played just one trial and were hammered 36-6 by the Sydney Roosters after a disappointing Auckland Nines.
Look for the battle between fullbacks to be key in this one with Brett Stewart Manly’s chief provider and Will Hopoate new to the custodian role. Stewart sets up more tries than any other fullback and will again be critical to the Sea Eagles attack. His importance is ever-increased with so many big names departed or out. Hopoate also has plenty of pressure on him as he shapes to replace Jarryd Hayne. Hopoate is a sensational talent but must develop his playmaking ability. How advanced he is will be on display for all to see Friday night.
Stats That Matter
Parramatta have been slow starters over the last three seasons with a 3-9 (4-8 ATS) record in the first four rounds. They have a 9-3 over record over that time. Manly conversely are fast starters with an 8-4 record. They are 9-3 under. Parramatta are an excellent 19-7 ATS at Parramatta Stadium over the last three seasons including a 12-10 (16-6 ATS) record when longer than $1.80. Manly away from Brookvale are 28-22 with a 26-24 ATS record since 2012, averaging a two-point win. Outsiders of two points or less are 33-42 ATS over the last three seasons.
This game is set up for Parramatta to win. All of the offseason drama between the two clubs should favour Parramatta, who have wrested the momentum from Manly by pinching players and potentially having more on the way. The Eels must adapt to life without Jarryd Hayne but with Manly’s long list of injuries and the coaching edge Brad Arthur has over Geoff Toovey, Parramatta are the bet. The key will come in the forward pack where Parramatta should absolutely dominate – and you can be sure and certain Anthony Watmough will have a ripper. Expect a big showing from the Eels in this.
How It’s Shaping Up
Parramatta by 7
Parramatta Eels v Manly Sea Eagles Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 1 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.