Dragons v Sea Eagles: Sims back on deck; Triple trouble for Manly

With seven rounds remaining, the Dragons and Sea Eagles are part of the dogfight for places in the bottom part of the top eight.

The Dragons have slipped from eighth to 11th in the past two weeks but with back-to-back games at their spiritual home ground they get an ideal opportunity to put themselves back in the mix.

Manly have won four of their past five games and will look to shore up their place in the eight by taking care of the Dragons (11th) and Roosters (9th) in the next two weeks.

Having conceded 86 points in their past two games the Dragons need to put some steel back in their defence if they hope to subdue a potent Sea Eagles side averaging 35 points per game in the past five matches.

The Rundown
Team news

Dragons: Moses Mbye moves into the starting side in place of Moses Suli, who suffered an ankle injury against the Roosters. Jayden Sullivan takes Mbye's place on the bench. Tariq Sims returns from suspension on the bench so Aaron Woods drops to 18th Man. No changes to the squad in Thursday's 24-hour update.

Sea Eagles: More disruption on Thursday with Andrew Davey and Lachlan Croker sidelined with COVID after Jake Trbojevic had tested positive early in the week. Kaeo Weekes will make his NRL debut at hooker, Ben Trbojevic comes into the back row and Toafofoa Sipley starts at lock. Taniela Paseka joins the interchange bench. Martin Taupau plays his 150th game for the Sea Eagles.

Key match-up
Ben Hunt v Daly Cherry-Evans: Two of Queensland's finest square off in the pivotal playmaking battle which holds the key to this one. Both men stood tall in Origin III and then rolled that into superb performances in Round 18 but Hunt's efforts were in vain as the Dragons were blown off the park by the Roosters. Cherry-Evans was supreme with three try assists, two line breaks and five tackle breaks in a big win over the Knights and he arrives at Kogarah full of confidence as he looks to lead Des Hasler's men into the finals for the third time in four years.

Stat Attack
When it comes to giving away penalties, the Dragons and Sea Eagles have shown plenty of discipline in 2022. Only Parramatta (85) have conceded less penalties than the Dragons (91). Manly have given up 96 penalties in 17 games, well down the list from the worst offenders Storm (123), Sharks (112), Raiders (110) and Roosters (108).

Original article

Source: NRL.com