The finals have arrived a week early for both teams.
Whoever wins between Manly and Penrith will guarantee themselves a spot in the top eight while the loser will have to sweat out the result of the Dragons v Bulldogs game on Sunday.
Manly broke an alarming form slump to win in Golden Point over the Warriors in New Zealand last week while Penrith’s seven-game winning streak was snapped by the Dragons in an epic 16-14 encounter.
HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS
Games at Lottoland earlier in the season didn’t pan out too well for MANLY.
They dropped several games at home but were performing outstandingly on the road, however, they have managed to turn things around which is a great relief to the Sea Eagles faithful.
After going 1-4 in their first five games at home, they’ve won five of their past seven and four straight at the ground traditionally known as Brookvale Oval.
Points haven’t been a concern during this good run of form either with the Sea Eagles scoring 36, 28, 18 and 21 during their four game winning streak which includes wins over the Roosters and Raiders.
PENRITH’s outstanding form reversal from the midway point of the season has almost got them into the finals.
They began 2017 with a 2-7 record but a seven-game winning run has them sitting in sixth spot heading into this match. The worrying thing is that if results go against them and they lose here, they could end up ninth and miss out on finals altogether.
It would be a shame for all that good work in the back end of the season to come undone so Anthony Griffin has to get his men back up off the canvas following their defeat to the Dragons last week.
Penrith were without captain Matt Moylan and lost Dylan Edwards during the game and will be without the latter again here. Moylan has been named in the reserves so punters are advised to check closer to kick off to see if he plays a part or not.
Things don’t look good if you are a Manly fan here.
PENRITH has won five straight against Manly and are aiming for three straight at Brookie for the first time since 1991 – the year they won their maiden premiership.
More often than not the winning margin when these sides meet is under 12 points with an average of 11.2 in the past five fixtures.
A 1-12 result for Manly is returning $3.20 @ Palmerbet while a Penrith win in the same margin range is $3.75 with the same corporate bookie.
In what should be a close contest we are leaning to the outsiders in PENRITH.
They are $2.12 @ Unibet and we want to take the value rather than the $1.85 (Unibet) for the Sea Eagles who haven’t been convincing for a fairly long time.
It is by no means an easy game to pick and the home side do get back Curtis Sironen which is an added bonus. We think it will come down to the dying minutes or a moment of magic to decide this one.
PENRITH 1-12 WINNING MARGIN