Match Preview - Round 2
Manly Sea Eagles v Melbourne Storm
Saturday 14 March, 7pm
TV: Fox Sports – live from 7pm
Online: NRL Digital Pass
One of the competition's strongest rivalries continues on Saturday night when Melbourne travel to Brookvale to take on the Sea Eagles.
Storm began their 2015 season positively on Monday night recording a Round 1 victory for the 11th consecutive season. The professional performance included an assured showing in defence with the Dragons earning a strong share of possession particularly in the first half of the contest.
Captain Cameron Smith, returning from an ankle injury lead the way recording 54 tackles with Tohu Harris (45), Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane (39) not far behind.
2014 Storm Player of the Year Bromwich picked up where he left off last season, earning man of the match honours in an even team performance.
The Sea Eagles experienced a tough start to the year in Round 1, feeling the full force of a second half onslaught from the Eels in Parramatta. After clawing their way back into the contest during the opening half of the match, Geoff Toovey's side were overrun by four unanswered Eels tries during the second stanza.
To make matters worse, playmaker Kieran Foran suffered a hamstring injury which will force the New Zealand international out of Saturday night's match-up with Storm. As he did in the last meeting between the two Club's, Jack Littlejohn will replace Foran at five-eighth. Winger Steve Matai has been selected for his first game of the year and will provide a boost for Manly with Justin Horo also named on an extended interchange bench.
Storm will enter the contest with at least one change to their Round 1 winning side. Named in Tuesday's Team Announcement, Felise Kaufusi has since accepted a one match suspension and will be replaced in the starting line-up.
If last year's two clashes are anything to go by fans can expect a close encounter at Brookvale Oval on Saturday night. Twice in 2014 Storm required 11th hour comebacks claiming victory by one and three points respectively in Rounds 1 and 9.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Young Tonumaipea, 3. William Chambers, 4. Kurt Mann, 5. Marika Koroibete, 6. Blake Green, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Dale Finucane, 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 15. Tim Glasby, 16. Dayne Weston, 17. Felise Kaufusi*
*Felise Kaufusi was named in Tuesday's HOSTPLUS Team Announcement but has since accepted a one week suspension for dangerous contact in Round 1. Kaufusi's replacement will be named an hour before kick-off on Saturday night when final teams are lodged.
Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles: 1. Brett Stewart, 2. Cheyse Blair, 3. Jamie Lyon, 4. Steve Matai, 5. Peta Hiku, 6. Jack Littlejohn, 7. Daly Cherry-Evans, 8. Willie Mason, 9. Matt Ballin, 10. Brenton Lawrence, 11. Feleti Mateo, 12. Tom Symonds, 13. Dunamis Lui, 14. Jesse Sene-Lefao, 15. Blake Leary, 16. Ligi Sao, 17. Luke Burgess, 18. Justin Horo
Referee – Jared Maxwell, Chris Sutton
Sideline Officials – Nick Beashel, Brett Suttor
Video Referees – Steve Chiddy, Luke Patten
HEAD TO HEAD:
at Brookvale Oval
LAST TIME THEY MET:
Round 9, 2014 – Melbourne Storm 22 (Tries: B.Slater 2, C.Cronk, K.Mann; Goals: C.Smith 3) defeated Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles 19 (Tries: P.Hiku, B.Stewart, J.Taufua, J.Buhrer Goals: S.Matai 1; Field goals: J.Littlejohn)