Monday Night NRL

Picture: Getty Images/abc.net.au
2011 premiers Manly have won three of their past four games against the Storm. Image courtesy of abc.net.au / Getty Images.
Manly and Melbourne clash in an epic NRL showdown at Brookvale Oval on Monday night which has been labelled as one of the games of the season. Both teams featured heavily in Wednesday night’s State of Origin and will welcome the extra recovery time leading into the match. Both Stewart brothers and Anthony Watmough are expected to back up for the Sea Eagles while Billy Slater is highly unlikely to play for the Storm. Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith are both expected to take their place in the starting side.

History - Arguably the best two clubs in the competition over the past four years there is no love loss and plenty of rivalry between these two opponents. Who could forget their bitter round 25 encounter last season which resulted in an all-in brawl and players being suspended left, right and centre. Manly are impressive when they face the Storm and have recorded three wins from their past four games against their southern opponents. The Storm have struggled to score points at Brookvale and have totalled a mere ten points in their past two outings.

Dangermen – Sea Eagles fullback Brett Stewart is a confidence player and he will have plenty of the latter after his performance in Origin 2 on Wednesday night. Young Storm winger Matt Duffie  has been a rock this season playing in all thirteen games and scoring eight tries most of which have been from a Cooper Cronk  kick or a crafty backline move.

Prediction – Brookvale has been a graveyard for the Storm in recent seasons and it’s hard to see them turning the tables after a bruising Origin encounter with two of their three key players backing up and Billy Slater missing. Expect the Sea Eagles to come out strong in front of a vocal home crowd. Manly 1-12 .

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