Previews Rd 10
Melbourne v Wests Tigers
When it comes to ruthless intent, no other NRL team comes close to matching the record of the Melbourne Storm.
The Storm’s killer instinct was highlighted at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday night when they smashed the Eels 64-10. The performance came less than a week after coach Craig Bellamy questioned the credentials of his team following a loss to Cronulla and suggested he may have to start “finding some new players” if his current line-up could not deliver the goods.
But to suggest the magnitude of the win over the Eels was a one-off by the Storm would be wrong. Melbourne have displayed a ruthless characteristic even before Bellamy came aboard as coach. In fact, in their 22 seasons in the NRL, the Storm have scored 60 points or more in a game more often than any other team in premiership history.
More than century old foundation clubs Sydney Roosters and South Sydney put together and more often than the great St George club, who dominated the game through the 1950s and 1960s.
Last week’s 64-point haul against the hapless Eels was the ninth time that Melbourne have scored at least 60 in a game. Their best effort came at the MCG in 2000 when they handed St George Illawarra a 70-10 pasting. In 2013, the Storm hit the 60-point mark twice in the space of three weeks; demolishing Canberra 68-4 (in Canberra) and Parramatta 64-4 at AAMI Park.
Wests Tigers have been unable to prevent teams from pouring through them when they have lost the momentum battle this season (losing 51-6 to the Eels and 42-12 to the Roosters) and they could be in for a long night if the Storm dominate.
Brisbane v Sydney Roosters
Sydney Roosters playmaker Cooper Cronk will have the chance for a rare honour in tomorrow night’s clash with the Broncos as his closes in on his 100th NRL try.
Cronk is poised to join an exclusive group of genuine halfbacks to score a century of tries in the top grade. Only Brisbane Broncos Hall of Famer Allan Langer and Panthers legend Greg Alexander have scored 100 tries and even Alexander’s status as a ‘genuine’ halfback would come in for question after he spent a lengthy period of his career at fullback.
Steve Morris was another halfback who scored 100 tries but he spent more than half of his career on the wing for St George and later Eastern Suburbs.
The Roosters may not have matters all their own way as they did when they met the Broncos at the Sydney Cricket Ground back in Round 4. That night, the Roosters ran riot, winning 36-4 to send the Broncos reeling.
Brisbane, however, are a different outfit at Suncorp and returned to form last Friday night when they knocked over Manly 26-10. They have defeated the Roosters in their past five games at Suncorp and will be itching to end the Roosters’ eight-game winning run tomorrow night.
Cronulla v Manly
Cronk won’t be the only veteran chasing a landmark achievement this weekend with Sharks captain Paul Gallen preparing for a record-breaking moment when he takes the field against Manly at PointsBet Stadium on Sunday.
It will be Gallen’s 160th appearance at the Sharks’ home ground which will make him the most capped player at a single premiership venue.
The mark was previously held by recently retired Brisbane forward Sam Thaiday, who played 159 games at Suncorp Stadium. Gallen sits ninth on the list of all-time premiership appearances and could climb as high as fourth by the time he retires later this season if he remains fit and the Sharks advance deep into the finals.
The Sharks will be hoping to overturn a poor record against the Sea Eagles in Sunday’s game. Manly have won 15 of the past 17 games between the clubs, including a 33-32 golden point win at Cronulla in last year’s only meeting.
Both teams have done it tough with injuries this season but have defied the odds to climb into the top eight after winning five of their first nine games. Manly will be boosted by the return of Dylan Walker, along with winger Jorge Taufua and Addin Fonua-Blake, who missed last week’s clash with Brisbane through injury.