Expect plenty of fireworks when these two sides do battle on Saturday.
Manly are looking to keep pace with competition frontrunners Melbourne while Penrith’s finals chances are heading in the wrong direction following a couple of recent losses.
The Sea Eagles are now looking near certainties for a spot in the top eight but Trent Barrett’s side have eyes on the top four and currently sit equal second with the Cronulla Sharks.
They head into this contest off the back of a season-best five straight wins with the latest of those a 26-22 verdict over the Warriors in Perth.
Penrith on the other hand are reeling off a 42-14 hiding at the hands of Souths which sees them four points outside the top eight with just nine rounds remaining.
NEARLY FULL STRENGTH
With most of the top sides in the NRL forced to give up their star players due to State Of Origin commitments, Manly are sitting pretty to make a strong charge in the final two months of the season.
The MANLY squad has been mainly overlooked for Origin with only Jake Trbojevic in action and that means the Northern Beaches outfit are almost at full strength for this.
Playing at Pepper Stadium shouldn’t worry this Manly outfit as they have one of the best road teams in the comp, winning six-from-six when listed as the away team. Their only loss on the road was when they were the ‘home’ side against Brisbane six weeks back at Suncorp Stadium.
The only concern with them will be the return trip from nib Stadium in Western Australia last week. They trailed 16-nil early before pulling the result out of the fire.
Traveling back across the Nullarbor and heading to the foot of the mountains will surely test their resolve.
LAST CHANCE SALOON
It’s getting desperate now for PENRITH.
Considered one of the top contenders for the title this year, Penrith are going to be flat out making the eight after enduring a horrendous start to 2017. Their 2-7 record through nine rounds has meant Anthony Griffin’s side has been chasing their tail for most of the campaign.
Their four straight wins following that bad start had many predicting they were ready to make their run, however, two bad losses to the Cowboys and Rabbitohs has them on the outside looking in.
One of the big concerns for them has been their attack which has gone missing over the past fortnight. They have registered just 12 and 14 points respectively in their past two games.
Penrith will be aiming for a slice of history here.
The Panthers have won four straight against Manly and will be looking for five in a row against them for just the second time in club history.
Making them more appealing from a betting point of view is their three straight wins against the Sea Eagles at Pepper Stadium.
We think we have found a bit of value in the Tryscorer markets here in the shape of James Tamou. The Panthers forward has two tries against Manly in the past four matches he has played against them, however, those were when he was playing with the Cowboys. Still, at $8 with William Hill to score a try, he is worth having a few dollars on.
We are plonking on Manly to get the money here.
Up to $1.95 is available after doing a search through the online bookies and we think that is a great price for a team on the rise, especially with one that has a lethal road record.
Expect there to be some bounce back from the Penrith because no one likes to get thrashed, however, they were terribly disappointing last week in a game they were expected to win.
Desperate times call for desperate measures and the Panthers will surely lift here, especially in front of their home crowd, but from what we have seen in recent weeks we doubt it will be enough.
MANLY 13+ WINNING MARGIN