Storm v Sea Eagles Preview

WHO: Melbourne Storm v Manly Sea Eagles
WHAT: Round 24 of the 2009 Telstra Premiership season
WHERE: Olympic Park, Melbourne
WHEN: Sunday, August 23rd @ 3.00pm
ON TV: Fox Sports 2 – 8.30pm

IN BRIEF
Once again the Storm struggled on the road, this time going down to the Newcastle Knights 26-14 at Energy Australia Stadium. The Storm are really missing Greg Inglis, but regardless, their desire and form hasn’t been there like previous years. Their forward pack has really struggled and is getting buckled back regularly, and this has made things very hard for the likes of Cameron Smith who has really only had an average year and big gun Billy Slater who has had quite possibly his most erratic season in 4 years.

The loss left the Storm witting in fourth place on the NRL ladder, three points ahead of Wests Tigers. The loss also gave the Newcastle Knights under new NRL coach Rick Stone another shot at NRL Finals Top 8 glory. The Knights getting to 26 competition points and now remaining in the hunt.

Manly were back to their best against the Sydney Roosters, crossing for seven tries in a 44-12 win. The Sea Eagles were most impressed by the return to form of David Williams. This guy was a dead duck only 7 days before, zero confidence with catching, running or passing the ball – he was gone. But some good touches saw some confidence come back and a very, very lucky video call were exactly what he needed. Williams along with the X-Factor of Anthony Watmough are what the Eagles are counting on. The form of Matt Orford has been very average and this side will also look to Jamie Lyon to pickup the slack where possible.

The win over the hapless Roosters outfit elevated the Eagles to seventh on the NRL ladder.

FAST FACTS
• Melbourne has never lost to Manly in Melbourne
• Melbourne has won their last eight games at Olympic Park
• Manly has scored 28 tries in their last five games

DID YOU KNOW 1?
Storm captain Cam Smith and his partner Barb welcomed their second child into the world on Monday, a baby boy named Jasper.

DID YOU KNOW 2?
Much maligned Storm winger Steve Turner will play his 100th game for the Melbourne Storm against Manly.

HEAD-TO-HEAD
Total: Played: 15, Storm: 9, Sea Eagles: 6
At Olympic Park: Played: 5, Storm: 5, Sea Eagles: 0

FOR AND AGAINST 2009
Points for: Storm: 421, Sea Eagles: 473
Points against: Storm: 324, Sea Eagles: 423
Tries for: Storm: 76, Sea Eagles: 83
Points differential: Storm: +97, Sea Eagles: 50

Hard to go against the statistics here, the Storm will be very pumped up at home. They will bounce back from a horror loss to the Knights and will dish it up to Manly – who themselves aren’t quite at full flight just yet. Both sides will be hoping to peak in the next fortnight prior to the finals series.

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