Jeff Dickinson-Fox reviews the campaign which saw Melbourne Storm crowned premiers in 2017.
4 days ago
This rivalry is based on a very recent history which will make the matchup more brutal than other traditional 'rivalries' in the NRL. The Storm lost last week and are playing at home which make them more aggressive from the outset. However, the Eagles respond well to aggression and have an impressive attack to counteract the fact that Melbourne has won all of their games this year by scoring only 20 points or less.
This will be a magnificent tactical battle, as much as it will be a battle of will. Manly's impressive young halves pairing of Trent Hodkinson and Kieran Foran will test the Storm defence but we have to lean towards the home side and defending premiers. Billy Slater in particular will be tested but will pass with flying colours. The visitors will want to atone for a poor performance in their last meeting with the Storm but experience is telling in this match and the Storm have it in spades.
Man of the Match Prediction: Billy Slater
Tip: Melbourne 20-16