Round 5 in the NRL season kicks off on Thursday night as the Newcastle Knights host the Manly Sea Eagles from 7.50pm. As always, Greg Davis is back on deck to run you through his best bets for the clash below.
Remember to head to our NRL Tips page for betting picks on every game across the Round 5 weekend.
NRL Knights vs Sea Eagles Betting Tips
1.Kalyn Ponga 2. Dominic Young 3. Dane Gagai 4. Bradman Best 5. Enari Tuala 6. Jake Clifford 7. Adam Clune 8. Jacob Saifiti 9. Chris Randall 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Tyson Frizell 12. Brodie Jones 13. Kurt Mann 14. Phoenix Crossland 15. Sauaso Sue 16. Leo Thompson 17. Jirah Momoisea 18. Simi Sasagi 19. Pasami Saulo 20. Tex Hoy 21. Edrick Lee 22. Jaron Purcell 23. Dylan Lucas 24. Brayden Musgrove
Manly Sea Eagles
1. Tolutau Koula 2. Jason Saab 3. Christian Tuipulotu 4. Morgan Harper 5. Reuben Garrick 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Josh Aloiai 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Martin Taupau 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Karl Lawton 16. Sean Keppie 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Ethan Bullemor 19. Toafofoa Sipley 20. Brad Parker 21. Jorge Taufua 22. Kurt De Luis 23. Kaeo Weekes 24. Jake Trbojevic
KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid.
It is a time-honoured gameplan in rugby league that is a simple sport made complicated by the humans who play, coach, referee and administer it.
Which brings us to Thursday night’s clash between Newcastle and Manly.
Sea Eagles superstar Tom Trbojevic will be sidelined for at least a month with a knee injury after being sent for scans following Manly’s 25-6 win over Canberra in Mudgee.
It seems simplistic to say – No Turbo, No Manly.
But remember, at the heart of it, it’s a simple game. And the numbers do not lie.
Last season, Manly lost four of their opening five matches with Trbojevic out of action with a hamstring injury.
When he slotted into the no.1 jersey, Manly won 13 of 15 regular season matches to fly into September with their late-surging campaign only coming to an end in the preliminary final.
If he wasn’t scoring tries, Trbojevic was setting them up as he also collected the Dally M medal for his heroics.
His sheer presence on the field makes Manly a two to three-try better side and his latest injury comes at a bad time for the Sea Eagles who were finding some form after losing to Penrith and the Roosters but bouncing back with wins over the Bulldogs and Raiders.
Skipper Daly Cherry-Evans was outstanding against the Raiders and he’ll have to play out of his skin for the next month as Manly try to fill an unfillable void.
The Sea Eagles will also be without Dylan Walker (knee) and Brad Parker (Covid) to make their task of toppling Newcastle in Newcastle even harder.
The Knights have injury concerns of their own but Tyson Frizell (hamstring) has been named in the side to avoid joining the bulging casualty ward in the Hunter Valley.
Newcastle had a bright start with wins over the Roosters and the Tigers but have come back to earth with losses to Penrith and Cronulla last week who claimed an 18-0 win.
Reports are circulating that star fullback Kalyn Ponga is set to reject a massive offer from Wayne Bennett and the Redcliffe Dolphins and stay with the Knights who have not spared the horses with their deal to keep Ponga at Newcastle long-term.
So, it comes down to the fullbacks – as is the way with modern-day rugby league.
Newcastle has their gun no.1 on the field on Thursday and for the foreseeable future.
Manly has their match-winning custodial in the grandstands.
Newcastle 1-12 Points
$2.70 (1 Unit)