What you need to know – Round 21
Melbourne Storm v Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 30 July, 2pm
Head-to-Head: Storm 13, Sea Eagles 13, Draw 1
Last time we met: Round 7, 2017 – Melbourne 30 def Manly 26 at Lottoland
TV: Fox Sports 502
Will he play? Won’t he play? If you had of asked that question last Sunday the answer would have been ‘no chance’. However true to form those famous Cameron Smith healing abilities appear to have swung into gear once again. The Storm skipper is now considered likely to line up for his 350th game against Manly. He will be given until Saturday’s Captain’s Run to prove his fitness before a final call is made. At this stage all signs are pointing to history being made at AAMI Park.
Beware the bounce back
The Sea Eagles are coming to Melbourne fresh off their biggest loss of the season. A 30-point defeat to the Dragons will be burning with them all week. The 52 points they allowed was also the most Manly has conceded in a game since Round 24, 2005. Results like that usually generate a response so Storm will have to be on their toes early.
They are a double act capable of ripping apart an opposition’s defence. Tom and Jake Trobojevic have provided many highlights together during the 2017 season so far. Despite falling short against the Dragons, the brothers combined for nearly 30% of their side’s total metres, 392 in total. Tom ranks fourth in the NRL for total metres, averaging 187 per game and is in the top 10 for line breaks. Jake is second at Manly for total tackles and found his way onto the try sheet the last time these two teams met in Round 7, courtesy of an assist from his brother.
Take it to the air
When Storm ran in six first half tries against Manly, all of them came through the right side of the defence. Three of those first four tries came via the air as the Sea Eagles simply had no answer for Suliasi Vunivalu. That day Suli lined up opposite Jorge Taufua who was 6cm shorter but have named Matthew Wright on that wing this time around. Wright is the same height as the Flying Fijian so Manly will be looking to ensure they do not receive the same treatment from Air Vunivalu this time around.