7.35pm (AEST), Friday, April 17
ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Premiership hopefuls Canterbury have been beset by injury and suspension, while ailing superpower Manly is stone motherless last and firming in wooden spoon betting. Both are desperate for a victory in Friday night’s grudge match.
Josh Reynolds is back at five-eighth for the Bulldogs, with Moses Mbye to start on the bench. Tim Browne has been named but is under a concussion cloud, while centres Josh Morris and Chase Stanley are also uncertain starters; Danny Fualalo and Herman Ese’ese have been included on an extended bench. Jamie Lyon returns for the Sea Eagles, which sees Brayden Williame move to the wing for injured rookie sensation Tom Trbojevic. James Hasson replaces Jesse Sene-Lefao on the Manly bench; Feleti Mateo is still out injured.
Manly holds a 63-54-5 all-time advantage against Canterbury. The Bulldogs have won six of nine clashes since the Sea Eagles’ two-time premiership-winning coach Des Hasler switched camps. After a gripping golden point semi-final victory over their archrivals last season, Canterbury grinded out a 16-12 win at Brookvale in Round 3. Bulldogs stars Tony Williams and Trent Hodkinson are former Manly players, while Sea Eagles prop Willie Mason originally found fame with the Bulldogs.
The injury and suspension fallout from their controversial Good Friday loss to South Sydney saw Canterbury go down 31-6 to St George Illawarra last Sunday with five of their top-liners on the sidelines. Manly have lost four on the trot, their last outing a 22-12 defeat to a busted Penrith outfit after earlier leading 8-6. Speculation is mounting that Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey will lose his job.
Origin reps Trent Hodkinson and Daly Cherry-Evans are struggling for form at present – if either can find it on Friday, it will give their side a massive leg up. The high-profile No.7s are both under pressure to retain their Origin spots.
Stats That Matter
The Bulldogs are 17-16 at ANZ Stadium (18-15 against the start) since the beginning of 2013; the Sea Eagles have played there just three times during the regular season during that period, winning two and covering twice. Manly are 3-7 as away underdogs over the last three seasons (5-5 ATS). Canterbury are 11-8 as home favourites (9-10 against the line) from 2013-15. On Friday nights over the last three seasons, the Bulldogs are 12-9 (10-11 ATS) and the Sea Eagles are 11-9 (10-10 ATS). Seven of the last nine Bulldogs-Sea Eagles encounters have been decided by eight points or less.
Canterbury struggled badly without Graham, Klemmer, Kasiano, Lafai and Brett Morris last week, while halves Hodkinson and Josh Reynolds are in ordinary touch. This is a tremendous opportunity for embattled Manly, who are paying $2.00 for the win, to land a blow for their under-fire coach and they should be favoured here. Look for Kieran Foran, Brett Stewart and the returning Lyon to give the Sea Eagles the edge. Stick to small margins and the under in what shapes as a hard slog between two battling sides.
How It’s Shaping Up
Sea Eagles by 6
Sea Eagles to win ($2)
Other Recommended Bets
Under 38 points ($1.90)
2015 NRL Round 7 Betting Preview for Bulldogs vs Manly thanks to William Hill Australia.
Bulldogs vs Manly Comparison Betting Odds
Below we have 2015 NRL Round 7 comparison betting odds from leading Australian and International online sportsbooks for the game.