NRL preview, NRL tips
  • Expert preview and prediction from Steve Green
  • Key players missing for both sides

NRL Tips expert Steve Green shares his thoughts on this week’s Thursday night footy clash, featuring two sides in the finals picture.

Both teams are missing a centre and a second rower for this match. And the Tigers are missing their hooker.

The loss of Mbye and Garner for Wests isn’t too concerning on my ratings, as Mbye’s form hasn’t been great and Wests have Chris McQueen waiting to step up for Garner. The replacement for Mbye is the son of Willie Taulau, a very talented Bulldogs / NZ centre from about 15-20 years ago. Although stepping up to NRL is always hard, he seems more than capable of filling that hole.

As for Manly, they are without Brad Parker and Curtis Sironen for this game. While Parker is a quiet achiever for Manly, the inclusion of Elliott means that they are unlikely to be too inconvenienced by his loss. Sironen however, is a really big loss. The rampaging back rower has been in career-best form this year and with 5 tries and 36 effective offloads, Manly’s right side attack will be less lethal without him.

Manly still rate very well on my system, with their poor performances against the Warriors looking like an aberration from their awesome 2019 form. However, DCE’s ankle also looks to be an ongoing issue and I am not a fan of Fainu being benched for Koroisau. So while I am not saying there are problems at Manly, I don’t think Wests are without a chance here.

As for Wests injuries, they are also without Farah for this one. While the loss of the club legend is obviously a loss, the positive aspect is that this means Liddle will get plenty of game time…and I am a big of Liddle. His ball running is fantastic and with their offloading abilities, Wests could really trouble Manly here. There is also a strong chance that J Reynolds is given a bench spot, which is another positive development.

But Wests inability to beat the Doggies last weekend shows that they still an inconsistent team that fails to take their opportunities. With Marsters having some defensive issues already and Taulau on debut, I am also worried that Tom T, Suli and Walker will have a field day out wide….plus Manly’s forward pack is still very big and strong, despite the absence of Sironen.

I think the home team deserve to be at least 10 point favourites here. I am tempted to have a bet on Manly at the line, but Wests have proven a tricky team to beat this year for teams like Manly, so going to stay out of this one.

Predicted Score
Manly 26
Wests 16
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