Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
15 hours ago
This Sunday?s final round NRL clash between the Storm and the Sea Eagles will see Melbourne assistant coach Peter Sharp make his first trip to Brookvale Oval since finishing his tenure as Manly head coach at the end of last season.
Sharp, who was at the helm of the Sea Eagles from 1999 until 2003, says he is looking forward to returning to Manly for the first time since being replaced by Des Hasler as head coach late last year.
?It will be nice to go back, I had five good years there and made a lot of good friends,? said Sharp, who coached Manly on 117 occasions.
?But in saying that we are there to try and win a football game and hopefully we?ll be able to do just that.
?I enjoyed my time there immensely but I?ve moved on, I?m here and they are there. There?s been a lot of water pass under the bridge since my time in Manly.?
?There?ll be no emotion from my part on that side of the preparations, it?s another game that we?d like to win and we?re going about our business in our usual manner.?
With Sunday?s match being the Sea Eagles? final for the season, Sharp believes the home side will come out all guns blazing in a bid to finish the year on a high.
?Over the last five or six weeks they (Manly) have played some very good football and they?ve certainly taken some steps to rebuilding as a club,? Sharp added.
?They?d love to finish the season on a high note so it will be a very tough game.?
The Storm assistant will leave Melbourne at the end of the year to join Parramatta as an assistant to Eels coach Brian Smith. Sharp?s decision to move back to New South Wales next year is closely linked to his family - his wife and two boys still reside in Sydney.
?Moving back to see my family was a huge factor in me heading home next year,? he explained.
?I?ve enjoyed my time in Melbourne very much, it?s a great footy team and a great footy club. I?ll be sad to leave but in saying that I?ll be home with the family so that will be great too.? Storm centre Ben MacDougall will also return to Manly for the first time this week after departing the club at the end of last year.
Since making the move south, MacDougall has proven to be one of the NRL?s big improvers and now forms a vital part in the Storm?s explosive backline.
?I think at the start of the year this game was one of the first things I looked at,? MacDougall explained.
?There?s a little bit of feeling for me coming into this week?s match and I guess the motivation is obvious, there?ll be no problem in getting up for this game.
?I think it?s an important game for me personally but also for the team, going into the finals we?ve got to get a lot of things right.?
Since joining to his fourth NRL club, MacDougall?s game has continued to flourish under coach Craig Bellamy.
?It?s been a great move me coming to Melbourne, I?ve really enjoyed my football here, there?s a wining culture and an excellent work ethic amongst the entire team,? MacDougall added.