Sea Eagles taking big guns to Leichhardt Oval

Luke Brooks looks on at Wests Tigers training ahead of his return to the side. Photo: AAP Image.
Luke Brooks looks on at Wests Tigers training ahead of his return to the side. Photo: AAP Image.

LEICHHARDT Oval is an intimidating ground for visiting teams but the Tigers will want to improve their recent record there against Manly tonight.

The hosts have managed just two wins from their past eight games at the venue.

The Sea Eagles will also be desperate after their lacklustre 28-6 loss to the Bulldogs in round one, while the Tigers were impressive with a 34-26 win over the Warriors.

The Tigers will welcome back Luke Brooks and Dene Halatau from suspension in place of Jack Littlejohn and Jack Buchanan, with both returning to the NSW Cup.

Manly coach Trent Barrett has reshuffled his forwards to allow for the returns of Josh Starling and Brenton Lawrence, who replace Blake Leary and Darcy Lussick.

A key match-up will be at five-eighth, with Mitchell Moses (Tigers) against Dylan Walker (Sea Eagles). Walker had a nervy start to his new position in the halves against the Bulldogs, while Moses had no trouble against the Warriors, assisting two tries.

Brooks' return will only help Moses in this match.

Plenty of eyes will be on Sea Eagles lock Martin Taupau in his return to Leichhardt.

Barrett has shifted the New Zealand representative to the back row in an attempt to further unlock the explosiveness in his game.

The Sea Eagles have won six of their past eight against the Tigers, going back to 2010.

The two teams only played once last year, in round 15, when Manly emerged 10-point victors.


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