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What you need to know - Round 18

Origin waiting game
For the last time this season fans must play the waiting game to see if their Origin stars will back up for Club football. Manly and Melbourne had a combined nine players who took part in Game Three on Wednesday night. Craig Bellamy has already all but put a line through Billy Slater as the veteran looks set to be managed until next week. He can do so with confidence given the red-hot form of youngster Jahrome Hughes over the last month. All eyes will be on the Late Mail of both teams one hour before kick-off when it will be confirmed which Origin players are able to back up.

Bring on Brookvale
One of the last truly suburban grounds in the NRL, Brookvale Oval does not exactly roll out the welcome mat for its visitors however Melbourne does hold a great recent record at the venue having won three of their last four games there. The first 20 minutes will be key. If Storm can start well and silence the home crowd they will be halfway to claiming the points. The purple faithful will be hopeful there can be a repeat of the 2016 visit, in which the men from Melbourne piled on five tries to one in the first half, four from Suliasi Vunivalu.

Return of JBrom
It has been five weeks in the making but the leader of the Storm forward pack has finally returned. Jesse Bromwich suffered a significant hamstring against the Broncos in Round 14. Whilst the team has continued its winning run the return of Bromwich will provide a significant lift up the middle of the park. The star prop has endured an injury-interrupted season that has restricted him to just nine games however now he is back for the business end of the year and Melbourne are set to reap the rewards.

Chasing our own Origin history
Melbourne has never won all six games during the Origin period. On Saturday Craig Bellamy's men have the chance to do just that. Currently on a five-game winning streak, Storm has used this time of the season, which has often proved extremely difficult to negotiate, as a springboard into the back end of the year. It is a huge vote of confidence to the depth of the playing squad, who again have the chance to showcase they bat well and truly deeper than just 17.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.

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