Manly to avenge season-opening Eels flop

Manly stars Daly Cherry-Evans and Brett Stewart admit still being pained by their NRL season-opening embarrassment to Parramatta.

Ahead of Sunday’s return bout at Brookvale, the Sea Eagles are flying on the back of a four-game winning streak that has them on the cusp of a dramatic return to the top eight.

It’s a far cry from a horrid start to the year that began with a 42-12 humiliation at the hands of ex-Manly forward Anthony Watmough’s Eels.

From that game, the proud club failed to rise from the bottom of the table until round 17.

“It’s hard to forget those losses. We got absolutely towelled up by them,” Cherry-Evans said on Wednesday.

Stewart said it was unfortunate Watmough would be absent from the clash due to his season-ending knee injury.

“A bit filthy Choc isn’t going to be playing, but obviously it still hurts,” he said.

“They were the better team round one, but hopefully we can turn it over this week.”

Manly currently sit just behind eighth-placed St George-Illawarra due to an inferior points differential and need to keep winning to remain in the hunt for a finals spot.

Seventh-placed Canterbury are two points in front, with just three games remaining in the regular season.

However Cherry-Evans denied their finals destiny was out of their hands.

“Despite who is ahead of us, I feel as though that if we win our next three games, we’ll be fine,” he said.

“Our for-and-against will steady, we’ll have the right amount of points on the board on the ladder, and I think we’ll be fine.

“I genuinely do believe that other teams aren’t a concern to us. We just need to make sure we keep winning.”

Sea Eagles coach Geoff Toovey named an unchanged line-up from the one that snuck home against Canberra last week.

However they could lose winger Jorge Taufua, who was hoping to overturn a grade one shoulder charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

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