The middle peg of Super Saturday has tossed up arguably the hardest game of the round to pick.
Both sides were beaten fairly easily in Round 1 and have come through the games with something worse than a loss – injuries and suspensions.
Manly started positively enough but then had no answer for Parramatta who end up winning 20-12 while the Bunnies were beaten comprehensively by the Tigers 34-18.
EARLY WARNING SIGNS
Coach Trent Barrett would have been hoping to start the season with two wins considering Manly’s opening fortnight was at Lottoland.
A defeat to Parramatta ruined any hopes of a good start while suspensions to powerhouse forward Marty Taupau and Addin Fonua-Blake giving their side some holes to fill up front.
Making matters worse for them is they only ran for just over 1200 metres last week and were comprehensively outpointed by the Eels forwards. Without Taupau and Fonua-Blake, they are set to struggle against the Bunnies forwards once again.
INGLIS AND REYNOLDS MISSING
SOUTHS will have to rely on someone else now that Greg Inglis has been ruled out for most of the season with an ACL injury.
The Bunnies are nowhere near as lethal without Inglis and have lost their eight games without the champion fullback in the side.
The Inglis situation compounds an already difficult problem for coach Michael Maguire who is without halfback Adam Reynolds for at least another three weeks due to appendicitis.
One positive note is that they have won two of the past three at this ground.
Manly have taken the points in two of the past three clashes, however, Souths has won four of six since 2014.
Last season Souths blew Manly off the park (Lottoland) early on and raced to a 16-nil lead before holding on to win 16-12. In the reverse fixture at Allianz Stadium, it was Manly who began quickly and Souths couldn’t reel them in.
The average margin in the past two clashes has been just six points.
This is a toss of the coin job!
If Inglis and Reynolds were playing for Souths we would have to give the nod to the visitors but that lack of direction and attacking spark is going to hurt them.
Manly did well to hang tough with Parramatta, who we consider one of the better teams in the competition, but realistically they never looked like winning that game.
We cannot see either side putting on too many points so maybe Total Points Over/Under is the way to go if you want to avoid taking a Head-to-Head option.
It’s only Round 2 but having a few dollars on the Draw ($23 with Unibet) could be worth doing just for the sake of value.
MATCH WINNER TIP: MANLY
FIRST TRYSCORER: BRYSON GOODWIN – because he notched a hat-trick last week in a losing side
MARGIN BETTING: MANLY 1-12
Other tip: DRAW