Saturday’s (25/07/2015) first NRL 2015 Round 20 match is between New Zealand Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles. The opening bounce is set to commence at 15:05 local time with the game to be played at Mt Smart Stadium. The home team New Zealand Warriors are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between New Zealand Warriors and Manly Sea Eagles.
When: 15:05 | Saturday 25/07/2015
Where: Mt Smart Stadium
Tip: New Zealand Warriors at $1.31
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Salomone Kata at $10.00
1 Sam Tomkins 2 Glen Fisiiahi 3 Tuimoala Lolohea 4 Solomone Kata 5 Jonathan Wright 6 Chad Townsend 7 Shaun Johnson 8 Jacob Lillyman 9 Nathan Friend 10 Ben Matulino 11 Bodene Thompson 12 Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13 Simon Mannering (c). Interchange: 14 Siliva Havili 15 Sione Lousi 16 Sam Rapira 17 Albert Vete 18 Sam Lisone.
1. Brett Stewart 2. Jorge Taufua 3. Jamie Lyon 4. Steve Matai 5. Peta Hiku 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Jake Trbojevic 9. Matt Ballin 10. Willie Mason 11. Feleti Mateo 12. Tom Symonds 13. Ligi Sao. Interchange: 14. Luke Burgess 15. Jayden Hodges 16. Justin Horo 17. Josh Starling 18. James Hasson.
Warriors coach Andrew McFadden is pointing at their late season fade last year to keep his players grounded heading into Sunday’s NRL clash with the in-form Roosters.
The fourth-placed Warriors will move level with their third-placed opponents if successful in Sydney, which would extend their winning streak to four.
While they have improved to nine wins and seven losses after Sunday’s 28-14 dismantling of Melbourne at home, McFadden notes it is an identical record to the same stage last year.
The Warriors then lost five of their last eight games to miss the play-offs on points differential – their third successive season without finals football.
“All the noise that generates when you start doing well, every team’s got to go through it but it doesn’t help you win football games,” McFadden said.
“All that stuff, we have to do our best to block it out.
“You can ask me in round 26 about the table because that’s the only time it really matters.”
Three key players likely to remain sidelined this weekend are wing Manu Vatuvei (shoulder), centre Konrad Hurrell (shoulder) and second-rower Ryan Hoffman (calf).
Interchange forward Charlie Gubb (head knock) is also an unlikely prospect, leaving McFadden hoping the support cast can step up again, creating the minimal space red-hot halfback Shaun Johnson currently needs to wreak havoc.
“Shaun’s clearly doing a good job at the moment. His football over the last month has been very consistent,” McFadden said.
“The way himself, Chad Townsend and Sam Tomkins have really been controlling games is important.
“But we know we’re going to get more pressure put on us this week.”
The Roosters are easily the NRL’s best defensive team, conceding less than 13 points per game.
They have leaked more than 20 points just three times this season, most recently in the 25-21 win over the Warriors in Auckland five weeks ago.
The Warriors blew a 14-0 lead to lose that clash, conceding a decisive late try to Blake Ferguson to start the Sydney club’s present winning streak of four games.
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change