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The Eels and Sea Eagles will both play finals footy in 2019, with Thursday night’s result playing a part in whether or not the Sea Eagles can feature in the top four or not. If the Bunnies beat the Chooks, then the top four is sealed, but if they suffer defeat, then Manly will need them to lose by a big margin or win big themselves to clinch a top four berth.
Their premiership chances were dealt a cruel blow last weekend when they went down 36-6 at Lottoland to the Storm. To make matters worse, full back Tom Trbojevic was lost to a pectoral injury that ends his season. Brendan Elliot slots in at fullback, while injured back rowers Jack Gosiewski and Morgan Boyle are out. Sean Keppie makes his Sea Eagles debut off the bench, with Lloyd Perrett also joining the pine for Manly, who are banged up heading into the finals.
Parra suffered a golden point loss to the Broncos, but are assured a home final in what has been a successful season, after placing last a season ago.
Brad Arthur has dropped David Gower and Peni Terepo from the starting 17, while moving Daniel Alvaro to the bench and promoting Marata Niukore to the starting 13 in a personnel reshuffle.
These two teams played out a high-scoring match in round 18, with Manly victorious 36-24 at Lottoland. Parra led 12-6 early, but Manly piled on six unanswered tries to dominate the middle part of the game.
Parra is 7-2 straight up at Bankwest Stadium this season, but Manly are no slouches on the road, covering 8 of 11 games. The Wolf senses a recent trio of injuries might sour what has been a great season from the Sea Eagles and they’ll be in preservation mode ahead of finals and go down in a high-scoring match.
Parramatta Eels for the win