Playing on emotion can be a help or a hindrance to a side but this week it presents a significant danger for Melbourne.
Parramatta will be spurred on by a sea of blue and gold at Pirtek Stadium on Monday night as the Eels look to keep their final hopes alive.
A vastly improved side this year under coach Brad Arthur, Parra have a sizeable forward pack capable of mixing it with the competition’s best and a halves combination that presents a constant danger.
Add to this that they have the in-form winger of the competition steaming down their left edge, the Eels will be a tough test for Storm.
We take a close look at what to expect from our opposition ahead of Monday night’s clash.
Norman and Foran
While he has not yet been named, Melbourne are preparing for the return of Kieran Foran. The dynamic halfback has five line break assists and three try assists in his seven games this year. In his absence Norman has donned the No.7 and has set up six tries for his side in 2016. When they are paired together both players complement each other well. Foran is the provider while Norman will often look to turn on his speed at run at the opposition line. Whether both will be out there remains to be seen but each player presents their own challenges for Craig Bellamy’s side.
At the end of last season Parramatta had conceded the fourth most points in the competition. After 10 rounds this year they have the fourth best defence. It is a renewed togetherness and discipline without the ball that has been a hallmark of the Eels resurgence. They are an aggressive team who can stick their tackles. In fact they have missed the second fewest tackles in the competition, only Storm have missed fewer.
Semi Radradra will be the focus of much Storm planning this week. Eight tries, six line breaks and 15 offloads from 10 games tells the story of the Fijian’s scintillating start to 2016. The winger bagged a double in the Eels win over Storm last year and will be going head to head with Storm ace Marika Koroibete. The purple line will need to be up early in order to limit his speed and power down that left edge.