20 Jun 2011

Eagles look to climb to top of NRL table

7:09 am on 20 June 2011

On the eve of Monday night's NRL clash with Parramatta, coach Des Hasler says a mouthwatering game against St George Illawarra was the furthest thing from the minds of Manly's players.

The Sea Eagles can jump the Dragons and join Melbourne at the top of the premiership ladder with a win over arch rivals Parramatta at Brookvale Oval, after the Storm's 12-4 defeat of Wests Tigers on Sunday at Leichhardt.

Manly will shoot for six straight wins against the Eels, whose last outing was the fighting draw with the Dragons.

The Sea Eagles will be without NSW centre Will Hopoate, sidelined for at least six weeks after being injured in State of Origin II, but Blues backrower Anthony Watmough is set to back up.

Parramatta have fullback Jarryd Hayne and prop Tim Mannah backing up, but most intrigue surrounds former Test forward Reni Maitua, who could play his first NRL game since completing a two-year drug ban.

Reports suggest the former Canterbury and Cronulla utility will be rushed into Parramatta's side, while coach Stephen Kearney has confirmed Maitua will travel to Brookvale.

Manly's players will wear black armbands and a minute's silence will be observed in memory of former Sea Eagle, dual international and commentator, Rex Mossop, who died on Friday.