Fri, Mar 7, 2:55pm by Clarinda Campbell
Match: Manly Sea Eagles ($1.55) vs. Melbourne Storm ($2.50) – NRL Round 1
When/Where: 7:00pm, Saturday March 8 at Brookvale Oval
AUD $100 Free Bet: www.IASbet.com
GORGEOUS George (also known as George Rose) returns to Brookvale Oval for the first time in Storm colours. The challenge of playing his old team in the first round is what kept Rose going through the gruelling Storm pre-season.
A modern-day rivalry has developed between these two teams due to the sustained period of success each has had over the last few years.
The Storm travel to the Brookvale fortress for this round one match and with key personnel missing from both sides, the match should be hard fought and close.
Try-scoring machines Jorge Taufua and David Williams are both out through injury. Co-captain Jason King will also be missing with a shoulder injury, as will back-rower Tom Symonds with a back injury.
New additions to the Eagles side, Josh Starling, Dunamis Lui and Cheyse Blair, have all been named to make their debuts in the Sea Eagles’ colours.
The side is coached by Geoff Toovey and captained by stalwart Jamie Lyon.
1. Brett Stewart
2. Cheyse Blair
3. Jamie Lyon (c)
4. Steve Matai
5. Peta Hiku
6. Kieran Foran
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Josh Starling
9. Matt Ballin
10. Brenton Lawrence
11. Anthony Watmough
12. Justin Horo
13. Glenn Stewart
14. Jesse Sene-Lefao
15. James Hasson
16. Jamie Buhrer
17. Dunamis Lui
The Sea Eagles didn’t progress past the group stage at the Auckland Nines and their only victory in the pre-season was a late come-from-behind 28-24 win against the Parramatta Eels. The Sea Eagles trailed 24-4 at half-time but mounted a second-half comeback with four tries scored. It was in this trial game that Taufua was injured, after bagging two tries.
In a big blow for the Storm, Cooper Cronk has been ruled out with a knee injury, while Billy Slater has been named despite not taking part in any pre-season games. Justin O’Neill is sidelined with a knee injury. Matt Duffie is out for the season. Travis Robinson returns in round five and Ryan Hinchcliffe has been named after struggling with an ankle injury.
Ben Roberts will attempt to fill the hole left by Cronk at halfback and Young Tonumaipea will be making his NRL debut on the wing.
Craig Bellamy is back again as the coach for 2014. Cameron Smith is the captain and is set to become the equal most-capped Storm player in the club’s history.
1. Billy Slater
2. Sisa Waqa
3. Will Chambers
4. Mahe Fonua
5. Young Tonumaipea
6. Ben Hampton
7. Ben Roberts
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Bryan Norrie
11. Kevin Proctor
12. Ryan Hoffman
13. Ryan Hinchcliffe
14. Kenny Bromwich
15. Tohu Harris
16. Jordan McLean
17. George Rose
18. Mitch Garbutt
19. Slade Griffin
20. Joel Romelo
Melbourne lost both its trial matches in the lead-up to round one, failing to overcome both the Bulldogs and Raiders. They were also knocked out of the Auckland Nines after the group stage. Admittedly, a number of the big names didn’t play with Bellamy electing to rest those players that had a long 2013 season.
|Bet on Sea Eagles vs Storm|
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Both teams have lost a lot of first-grade experience since last season, with a number of players leaving each side.
The absence of Taufua and Williams may present an issue for Manly. The Sea Eagles ranked second for tries scored last year, largely through the efforts of Taufua and Williams, who scored 20 tries apiece. The Sea Eagles’ forward stocks have also changed shape with just 52 games of combined experience between Brenton Lawrence and Josh Starling.
However, Manly still has its star halves pairing Daly Cherry-Evans and Kieran Foran intact and they have the ability to put any teammate over the line. They will be looking to dominate again this year.
In contrast, the halves pairing is the weakness for the Storm. Cronk is a massive loss at halfback and this will prove the difference in the game.
My tip Sea Eagles to win by 4 @ IASbet.com
Sea Eagles – $1.55 head-to-head with IASbet.com
Storm – $2.50
There’s plenty of support for the Sea Eagles in the head-to-head betting market. Punters aren’t prepared to take a risk on a Storm side that is missing Cronk. Brookvale Oval is also a fortress for the Sea Eagles.
Sea Eagles 1-12 – $3 with IASbet.com
Sea Eagles 13+ – $2.75
Storm 1-12 – $3.75
Storm 13+ – $7
A margin of four points is predicted for this match. The Sea Eagles are without their point-scoring personnel in the outside backs and even though they should win, they may not have the points in them to win by much. A bet on the Sea Eagles in the 1-12 market is attractive at $3.
Sea Eagles -5.5 – $1.92
Storm +5.5 – $1.92 with IASbet.com
The Storm have been given a 5.5 point head start in the handicap a markets and this is enough to see them win if the prediction of a four point win to Manly holds up.
I like Kieran Foran at $6.50 to score a try for the Sea Eagles. For the Storm, Sisa Waqa is a good bet at $2.10.
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