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Canterbury v Manly NRL matchups

POTENTIAL KEY MATCHUPS FOR FRIDAY NIGHT'S MANLY v CANTERBURY NRL QUALIFYING FINAL

BEN BARBA (Can) v BRETT STEWART (Man)

The new golden boy of the NRL against the one-time face of the game
Canterbury v Manly NRL matchups
by NRL

POTENTIAL KEY MATCHUPS FOR FRIDAY NIGHT'S MANLY v CANTERBURY NRL QUALIFYING FINAL

BEN BARBA (Can) v BRETT STEWART (Man)

The new golden boy of the NRL against the one-time face of the game. Barba cleaned up at this week's Dally M awards and has been in electrifying form all year. Manly's run of six straight wins has coincided with Stewart's return from injury, and Barba will need to be at his brilliant best to eclipse the NSW star. Barba's huge improvement in defence is a hallmark of Des Hasler's coaching. But up against a player who learned his trade under the tutelage of the man with the most unique hair in rugby league, he could well meet his match.

DES HASLER (Can) v GEOFF TOOVEY (Man)

The master and his former apprentice are tied at 1-1 having faced each another twice this season, but Toovey has proved he's learnt well from the two-time premiership-winning coach. Hasler deservedly picked up the coach of year award this week after leading the Bulldogs to a first minor premiership since 1994, but Toovey's side is the form team leading into the finals. No coach is more forensic in his preparation than Hasler, and he knows everything about the players his Bulldogs side will face on Friday.

JOSH MORRIS (Can) v JAMIE LYON (Man)

Morris is the most improved centre in the game and it's hard to believe the NSW star was dumped to NSW Cup last season following some indifferent performances. Morris enjoyed a titanic tussle with Greg Inglis during the State of Origin series and more than held his own. He's also been superb in attack scoring two hat-tricks this year. Lyon is in arguably the best form of his career and appears to get better with age. His link-up play with Glenn Stewart gives the Sea Eagles a formidable right edge and Morris' defence will be thoroughly tested again at ANZ Stadium.


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