North Sydney Oval, Sunday 12 May
The North Sydney Bears will take on arch rivals, the Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles, in round nine of the NSW Cup this Sunday afternoon at 3pm at North Sydney Oval.
Manly will play their third game in seven days against the second-placed Bears as part of a triple-header which includes the National Under 16 and Under 18 games at Bear Park on Sunday.
The Sea Eagles dominated for long periods against competition leaders, Cronulla, at Leichhardt Oval in a make-up match on Wednesday night but struggled to post points after losing halfback Jason Seage to a leg injury.
With injuries and suspensions littered throughout the NRL squad, the task doesnt get any easier for Luke Williamson and his men here.
On a positive note, it has also meant that several NSW Cup players have made their NRL debut under Geoff Toovey in recent weeks.
One of those debutants, Peta Hiku, was the shining light for the Sea Eagles against the Sharks and the boys from the northern beaches need him to fire against what is proving a staunch Bears defence.
The Bears will be out to avenge their round eight loss to the Wests Tigers and have again named a strong line-up highlighted by the naming of impressive young rake Apisai Koroisau who made a successful return from injury last weekend.
Although Wednesday nights score doesnt reflect it, the Sea Eagles were brutal up front at times against the Sharks and they need to bring that mentality into this clash.
If the Bears get too much go forward and the likes of Luke Keary and Dylan Farrell get room to move, the game could be out of Manlys reach before they know it.
Talking Point: A rivalry renewed We are not going to sit here and bang on about the rivalry between the Bears and the Sea Eagles for too long.
Anyone who knows anything about Rugby League knows that these two clubs dont like one another very much and havent done so for a very long time.
Manlys form running into this clash probably doesnt suggest that they are a winning chance, but you know what?
Also cant wait to see if any hardy soul rocks up wearing their retro Northern Eagles jersey.
Who knows, maybe Wyong coach and former Rabbitohs player Paul Stringer will on his way back from Wellington.
Prediction: Expecting the Bears to bounce back after a home loss last round.
Bears by 16.