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Saturday 19 September 07:00

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NRL ROUND 19

MANLY SEA EAGLES VS GOLD COAST TITANS

SATURDAY SEPTEMBER 19, 3 PM, LOTTOLAND, SYDNEY

Manly and the Gold Coast are eliminated from the NRL and are playing for just pride and the futures of the clubs, which admittedly in both cases looks much brighter than they have shown in 2020, leaving us in for what could be a beauty of a match.  Manly showed a little glimpse of form last weekend as they defeated the Bulldogs 32-20, only to see Canterbury turn the wooden spoon over to Brisbane by beating the Bunnies in early round 19 action.  Gold Coast have dealt with opponents like these well the last few weeks dishing up wins against Brisbane, Canterbury and the Dragons in successive weeks.  Indeed, Gold Coast look to be building a formidable squad for 2021, having added Fifita, Ese’ese and Tino Fa’asuamaleaui and extended captain Proctor in recent times, who are sure to complement the Queensland pair of Arrow and Wallace very well.  Showery weather may impede the expansive style of Rugby League these teams would like to play with greasy conditions at Lottoland, while a stiff breeze could make things tricky too.

Tom Trbojevic and Ruben Garrick are named as reserves for this match, with a good chance either or both will be promoted to the starting side if they can satisfy the medical staff, leaving any of Harper, Miski or Hopoate chances of missing out.  Fonua-Blake is the opposite having been named but unlikely due to an aggravation of his injured knee last game, leaving Paseka the one to probably start in his place, while Olakau’atu or Ben Trbojevic in line to take a bench role.  Proctor returns from his biting suspension controversy in the Backrow for Gold Coast, while Boyd comes back into the utility role on the bench, and Fermor as well as Clark are out of the 17 that took the field last game.  Kelly could replace Spry in the Centres if he passes a fitness test as he is racing the clock to be ready to end his rehab stint on an ankle injury.

A win here for Gold Coast could spell the end of a fairly lengthy rebuild, or maybe that’s a bit premature, nonetheless, it would be the first time since 2014 that they have won 4 on the trot, and that roster looks awful good for 2021.  This is the first meeting between these clubs since June 2019, when Manly won comfortably 30-12, in reply to a 36-18 thumping win for the Gold Coast just 4 weeks prior.  Due to the home ground advantage Manly are $1.47 to beat Gold Coast ensuring that 4 game win streak doesn’t eventuate as they are also handicapped at -5.5, while the Titans are $2.70, which seems a little over the tote.

PREDICTION: Gold Coast have been jolly good lately, and will win by around 10.

BETTING TIP: $4 for the Titans to win by 1-12 is a generous market.