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Melbourne hooker Brandon Smith has plenty of reasons to be excited by Saturday night's clash against Manly as a new chapter in one of the game's biggest modern rivalries is ready to be written.

All Storm players receive an extensive lesson on the history of the club when they first arrive at AAMI Park and Smith knows just how important Saturday's road trip is for his club.

The two NRL powerhouses have had some epic clashes over the years and their blockbuster round-24 contest will have massive ramifications on the make-up of the top four.

A victory for the Storm will clinch the minor premiership, while the fourth-placed Sea Eagles can move a step closer to avoiding a first-up sudden-death playoff if they upset the league leaders.

"We owe them about 20 and they owe us about 20," Smith said on Thursday while promoting the NRL Australian Apprenticeships program as part of National Skills Week.

"It's that rivalry continuing on from that 2007 [Storm grand final win over Manly] and 2010 era and beyond.

"What Des Hasler has got going on down there at the moment is something special as he has taken Manly from a bottom five team to arguably one of the best teams in the comp."

Suliasi Vunivalu, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships Steve Irons and Brandon Smith.
Suliasi Vunivalu, Assistant Minister for Vocational Education, Training and Apprenticeships Steve Irons and Brandon Smith. ©

When the sides met in Melbourne last month the Sea Eagles won 11-10 courtesy of a Daly Cherry-Evans field goal deep into extra time and there's the ongoing rivalry between the two veteran coaches that always seems to add further fuel to the fire.

Saturday's clash also marks the 100th appearance in the purple jersey for prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona.

He does much of the grunt work early in games and Smith is in awe of the giant Kiwi.

"To be able to play 100 games in four years is something special," Smith said of Asofa-Solomona.

"He is 23 and playing 100 games, so that shows the kind of player he is.

"I don’t really want to sign at any other place because I don’t want to have to tackle him, as tackling him at training is hard enough.”

Smith said Asofa-Solomona's century milestone had not yet been brought up by Craig Bellamy or the rest of the Storm coaching staff, but he expects that to change before kick-off on Saturday.

"He is only 23 and he has played 100 games, while I am 23 and I haven’t even played 40 yet, so it's a testament to the player he is," Smith said.

"He is a pleasure to play with, a cracking guy and I look forward to ripping in for him this weekend."

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.