NRL Grand Final 2007
Storm Injuries Continue to Surface
The Storm’s attempt to conceal their injury woes is seeming futile, with forward Ben Cross still not a confirmed starter after his hamstring injury and Billy Slater remains in cotton wool; confirmed to play, but certainly only doing light duties this week.
Melbourne’s preparation was further hampered by the media attention on Israel Folau and his apparent desire to return north to Queensland. The youngster reportedly home sick and keen to explore options to return home in the years ahead. Coach Craig Bellamy later angrily stating the report on Israel Folau was purely an attempt to destabilize the Storm in Grand Final week.
Folau is yet another Storm player with injury concerns; spending time in the hyperbaric chamber this week with teammates Slater, Cross and Brett White.
The likes of Folau and Slater are certain to be put under the microscope early by Manly. Anthony Watmough and Steve Matai will be like human freight trains as they run full steam at the wounded Storm men.
While Melbourne has answered every call this year; if they do win this Sunday night – it will be a massive mountain they have climbed. The full extent of their injury worries is not being reported and their away journey to Sydney is a big one. Manly have enjoyed a much easier run into the Grand Final; beating South Sydney comfortably and then getting a strong but safe run against the Cowboys in week 3. The Storm on the other hand; may have had a soft run in Week 1 against the Broncos, but had a huge test against the aggressive Eels at the Telstra Dome last week – hence the long list of injuries.
The stakes are so high for Melbourne; if they do fail this Sunday – the mental damage to players and coach will most certainly be irreparable. Losing 1 Grand Final is hard enough, losing 2 back to back will drive anyone to the brink.