Manly have identified Canberra’s big pack and livewire fullback Anthony Milford as the two major dangers ahead of their NRL clash at Brookvale Oval.
To nullify young Canberra NRL gamebreaker Anthony Milford, you first need to bludgeon the Raiders’ behemoth pack.
Manly have no doubts where the Raiders’ two key strengths lie, and know they can kill two birds with one stone if Anthony Watmough and co win the battle up front in Sunday’s clash at Brookvale Oval.
“They have a very strong forward pack. There’s no secret about that,” says returning Manly playmaker Daly Cherry-Evans.
“And on the back of that, there’s (fullback) Anthony Milford.”
“He’s not the be all and end all, but he is an important part of that side.”
The Raiders’ pack is led by Queensland and Kangaroos wrecking ball Josh Papalii, a resurgent David Shillington, and last week’s match winner Paul Vaughan.
They’re backed up by former rep prop Brett White, tackling machine Shaun Fensom, NRL’s tallest man Dane Tilse and 122kg youngster Shannon Boyd.
In conjunction with a late Milford line break, that Raiders’ pack paved the way for Vaughan’s 79th-minute stunning match-winner against Melbourne last week, and Manly forward Dunamis Lui knows he’ll be facing a pumped up outfit gunning for their first back-to-back wins of the season.
But he points out his own forwards have already proven themselves against a giant Souths’ pack in round two.
“We’re going to have to really be on our game,” Lui said.
“But with the boys here, I reckon we’ll do the job. They’re really aggressive here and don’t stand down.”
Manly also have to ensure they don’t let a week full of Stewart brother distractions curtail their momentum, which has produced wins over Cronulla and North Queensland to have them sitting pretty in third spot.
Key lock Glenn Stewart announced on Tuesday he would move to South Sydney, just one day after his younger brother Brett was charged with low-range drink-driving.
The team will be further disrupted by the loss of five-eighth Kieran Foran (knee), however they’ll have more than adequate cover with Jamie Lyon sticking around in the halves for another week.
“Although we’d love Kieran to be out there, Jamie Lyon is a very handy substitute,” Cherry-Evans said.