Melbourne Storm, 4th (6-4) Vs Manly Sea Eagles, 12th (3-7)
19 May 2018, 7:30pm
One of the Modern day Rivalries gets another edition etched into the history books this Saturday night. A Storm team that keeps on keeping on, minus their captain Vs a Manly team that finally snapped their 5 game losing streak with a massive win over Brisbane in Brisbane.
Melbourne Storm (MS) after a slow start kicked into gear vs an injury ruined Gold Coast Titans to win 28-14 at Suncorp stadium. An ordinary first half by MS standards saw them losing at half time but in traditional form the MS ran in three tries in the second half and out powered a gallant Titans team. This week they are with out their captain C. Smith through suspension, fun fact, this will be the 4th game B. Slater hasn’t played with his captain in his career. This allows B. Smith to get his chance to show MS fans what he will bring to the table once his captain retires. This young kid has been playing really well in the middle when he has been on the field, personally we are excited to see him run out in his preferred position of 9 this week.
A lot of pressure will now land on C. Munster and B. Slater this week and how they handle this will be the deciding factor for us. These two have the ability to win games on their own backs, but with out C. Smith, through his control and goal kicking it levels this match out a lot more.
Manly Sea Eagles (MSE) have had a shocking 5 weeks of footy with the club under siege from various angles and its reflected in their poor style of play. However in Brisbane Vs a Brisbane team that went in as heavy favourites, they reminded us that they are a footy side that when they click can match it still. The Trbojevic brothers had a field day and both found their form that has them in contention for a sky blue jumper in the next few weeks. Off this, M. Taupau, A.F-Blake, J. Thompson grew another leg and remembered how to play. Once these players competed their sets and reduced their errors, D.C-Evans came into the fray and delivered the game expected of his price tag. Scoring 14 of the 38 points, 1 try assist and better general kicking really drove the nail into another disappointing Brisbane performance.
This week traveling to AAMI Park won’t be an easy task, but they showed us last week that they can still turn up and will be running high after last weeks win. A heavy reliance through the middle making meters and not dropping easy ball will be the centre of their plays as it should be a lot easier without C. Smith there.
Stats that Matter:
Games won vs the Top 8: Storm 1 win, 4 losses. Manly 0 Wins, 3 losses.
Both teams are similar across the main stats: average 4 tries a match, both 74% completion, Line Breaks at 4 a piece and Made tackles 2 less to the MS on average with 305 to MSE 307. The main two differences in attacking stats is the Average Run Metres in favour to MSE 1489 to MS 1405 and Average Kick Metres 396 to MS over MSE 340.
Defensively MS out class MSE with an impressive 15.9 points per game conceded through the first 10 rounds, compared to MSE of 24.7.
Melbourne Storm Team Analysis
As mentioned earlier their Captain and Rock in the centre of the park is out with suspension, C. Smith, who took the early plea for a “wish bone” tackle, which seems his apprentice B. Smith come into the starting hooking role. This also forces the MS to run a more balanced bench with J. Hughes expected to get more game time as B. Smith will need a break at some stage. Another Storm player in S. Kasiano also misses a week through suspension, with the timely return of T. Glasby set to come off the bench.
Manly Sea Eagles Team Analysis
T. Hodkinson was included on the bench after the Cronulla Sharks surprisingly released him to help a MSE team desperate for a half to help D.C-Evans. It’s expected that he will miss the opening 15-20 minutes and then enter the game, this will force a potential reshuffle in the backs dependant what the MSE coach decides to do with D. Walker. Another injury to the MSE with T. Paseka, sees T. Sipley come onto the bench.
Possible Ladder position:
Melbourne Storm: They need this win to maintain in contact with the Top 4 and avoid the 5 other teams currently on 12 points. Dependant on their winning margin and other results, they could move to as high as 2nd or could fall to 6-8th.
Weather: A predict dower day in Melbourne with a high of 14*c to 9*c with clouds around the area. Game time temperature a toasty 12*c-10*c
For us the all round ability of the MS structures and players should win this game. A tricky line at +/- 5.5 on Sports Bet and +/-6 William Hill, suggesting the bookies aren’t too sure either and don’t want to give more than a full converted try at $1.90. If MSE didn’t put in last weeks performance this would be an easy call on the line and take the -5.5. Add in the suspension of C. Smith and we aren’t going anywhere near this and believe it will be a close result with both teams going blow for blow.
William Hill – Margins – Either Team Wins by Under 12.5 (No Extra Time) – Either team win by UNDER 12.5 $1.85 (William Hill)
Good Luck and remember gamble with in your means.