Just five days after playing host to the Warriors in Gosford, Manly Sea Eagles return to Bluetongue Stadium on Friday night as the visitors. Their hosts this time are South Sydney Rabbitohs, who will be desperate to get their premiership campaign back on track after three losses from four games. Manly, on the other hand, are in great form having racked up six wins in a row.
Anthony Watmough misses this game for the Sea Eagles with a posterior cruciate knee injury that may rule him out until the finals series begin. Justin Horo returns in his place after he was a late withdrawal against the Warriors.
Souths will miss Sam Burgess through suspension after he took the early guilty plea for a Grade One Contrary Conduct charge for a “squirrel grip” tackle on Melbourne Storm’s Will Chambers. For those of you not familiar with the squirrel grip, let’s just say that the name has come from a squirrels’ fondness for handling nuts. The charge itself carries a one match ban, however Burgess still had 55 carryover points from previous offences that took him over the two game threshold. Elder brother Luke has been named as his replacement.
In much more positive news for Souths they do welcome back two key players in John Sutton and Greg Inglis. When Inglis suffered a knee injury in the State of Origin decider the question was asked of the Rabbitohs – how would their premiership campaign fair without their star full back. The three defeats in four games suggests they didn’t find the required solution, so Michael Maguire will be delighted to see Inglis back slightly ahead of schedule.
Friday 16th August, Bluetongue Stadium Gosford 19:35
South Sydney Rabbitohs v Manly Sea Eagles
Our tip – The returning Souths stars could need an extra week to shake off the rust, Manly to get a seventh straight win.