The Sea Eagles and Storm will square off in the opening game of Round 16 in the NRL this Thursday night. As always, Greg Davis is back to run you through the teams and his maatch predictions as well as giving his best bet for the night below..
Sea Eagles vs Storm Betting Tips
M4 Pines Park, Sydney, Thursday 30th June, 7.50pm (AEST)
Manly Sea Eagles
1.. Reuben Garrick 2. Jason Saab 3. Morgan Harper 4. Tolutau Koula 5. Christian Tuipulotu 6. Kieran Foran 7. Daly Cherry-Evans 8. Sean Keppie 9. Lachlan Croker 10. Toafofoa Sipley 11. Haumole Olakau'atu 12. Andrew Davey 13. Jake Trbojevic 14. Dylan Walker 15. Josh Schuster 16. Martin Taupau 17. Taniela Paseka 18. Ben Trbojevic 19. Kurt De Luis 20. Ethan Bullemor 21. Jorge Taufua 22. Kaeo Weekes
1. Nick Meaney 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Grant Anderson 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Josh King 11. Chris Lewis 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Brandon Smith 14. Jayden Nikorima 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Alec MacDonald 19. Ryan Papenhuyzen 20. Tyran Wishart 21. Jordan Grant 22. Bronson Garlick
LOSING two Origin stars of the highest calibre like Cameron Munster and Felise Kaufusi would normally cripple a team’s chances of victory in the NRL.
But the Melbourne Storm are set to welcome back superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen for the grudge match with Manly at Brookvale this Thursday night.
Munster has been named in the Storm squad despite suffering a shoulder injury in Queensland’s heavy loss to NSW in Perth on Sunday night that has him racing the clock to be fit for the decider while Kaufusi has been granted compassionate leave to attend to a family matter.
It is a significant double blow. However, it is the most extravagant of luxuries to have Papenhuyzen waiting in the wings to make his return after a hamstring injury and COVID.
Papenhuyzen has been named in the reserves but the likely omission of Munster would see him slot straight back into the starting side. Munster is an elite match-winner but so is Papenhuyzen with his brilliant ball-running, deadly accurate goalkicking and precise playmaking.
Chris Lewis will replace Kaufusi in the second row for Melbourne who have Harry Grant backing up from Origin while Manly have Daly Cherry-Evans and Jake Trbojevic going around again after Sunday’s interstate clash in Perth.
But they are not the only representative players who face a quick turnaround from the weekend with both clubs contributing significantly to rep round.
Melbourne’s Jesse Bromwich, Kenny Bronwich, Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith all played for New Zealand last Saturday with Justin Olam and Tui Kamikamika also playing in the Pacific Tests.
And Manly had Kieran Foran in camp with the Kiwis and the quartet of Josh Schuster, Marty Taupau, Christian Tuipulotu and Tolutau Koula in the Pacific Tests.
So, there will be some tired boys carrying bumps and bruises into a match-up that has always has extra feeling regardless of who is filling the jerseys given the testy history between the clubs.
Manly is a win outside the top eight and desperate for a victory to get their season back on track after they succumb to North Queensland in their last start when the Sea Eagles led 26-12 with just seven minutes left but lost 28-26.
That loss would have cut deep given it was in front of the Brookvale faithful and wiped out the momentum from big wins over New Zealand and the Wests Tigers.
The Storm have not lost since the May 20 thumping from the Cowboys with Manly (28-8), Roosters (26-18) and Broncos (32-20) all falling to the purple powerhouse in the wake of the Townsville walloping.
Even with Munster and Kaufusi out, the Storm still has a tonne of class at its disposal which should be enough to handle the Sea Eagles who have been anything but convincing throughout 2022.
It will be tighter than their Round 12 clash at AAMI Park but Melbourne and their system should be too strong.
Justin Olam 1st Try ($12 at Ladbrokes)
$1.90 (3 Units)