GRAND FINAL DAY LOCKED IN | Three big fixtures next Sunday at Sydney's ANZ Stadium! Burleigh and Ill...
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The Grand Final pendulum has swung Melbourne's way with four previously doubtful players now almost certain to start in Sunday's decider against Manly.
Melbourne's most serious injury concern, prop Ben Cross, received encouraging news from scans on his hamstring injury, while forward Jeremy Smith has escaped suspension despite being charged for a high tackle.
The Storm also received good news on Israel Folau, who has a calf injury and Clint Newton, who has an ankle problem. Manly pair Matt Orford and Brett Stewart will receive scan results on minor injuries today with both expected to be fit.
Manly captain Matt Orford wants clarification of the obstruction ruling, which he says is still a lottery. Manly were denied two tries in last Saturday's preliminary final win over North Queensland, but one particular move has the Sea Eagles concerned ahead of the Grand Final with Melbourne.
The backline play, which involves decoy runners, has twice been denied by video referees in the past month. Manly coach Des Hasler is expected to speak to referees coach Robert Finch during the week and halfback Orford says he wants to know why his side is constantly on the wrong side of the 50-50 calls.
And Melbourne will embrace the hype of Grand Final week by abandoning the Victorian capital for the final days of their build-up to Sunday's decider against Manly. The Storm will travel to Sydney tomorrow night. This contrasts with last year when they travelled to Sydney for the grand final breakfast on the Thursday morning and returned immediately afterwards to train in Melbourne in the afternoon.
Coach Craig Bellamy admits that lack of grand final fanfare may have left his players under-prepared and contributed to their 15-8 loss to Brisbane.