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2021 NRL Round 21 Preview, Sea Eagles Vs Storm

Jack Harbidge previews the Round 21 clash between the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles and title favourites Melbourne Storm at Suncorp Stadium. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Date: Saturday 7th August 2021, Time: 7:35pm

Sea Eagles Team

1. Tom Trbojevic
2. Jason Saab
3. Brad Parker
4. Morgan Harper
5. Reuben Garrick
6. Kieran Foran
7. Daly Cherry-Evans
8. Taniela Paseka
9. Lachlan Croker
10. Martin Taupau
11. Haumole Olakau’atu
12. Josh Schuster
13. Jake Trbojevic
14. Dylan Walker
15. Karl Lawton
16. Josh Aloiai
17. Toafofoa Sipley
18. Moses Suli
19. Cade Cust
20. Curtis Sironen
21. Kurt De Luis

Team Changes

IN: Cade Cust, Josh Aloiai, Kurt De Luis.
OUT:

Storm Team

1. Nicho Hynes
2. Dean Ieremia
3. Reimis Smith
4. Justin Olam
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Cameron Munster
7. Jahrome Hughes
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Brandon Smith
10. Christian Welch
11. Chris Lewis
12. Kenneath Bromwich
13. Dale Finucane
14. Harry Grant
15. Tom Eisenhuth
16. Jordan Grant
17. Ryan Papenhuyzen
18. Trent Loiero
19. Tepai Moeroa
20. Isaac Lumelume
21. Cooper Johns

Team Changes

IN: Cooper Johns, Isaac Lumelume, Tom Eisenhuth, Trent Loiero.
OUT: Felise Kaufusi.

Referee: Adam Gee

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Manly Warringah Sea Eagles

Manly come into this one in red-hot form, having scored 116 points across their hat-trick of wins since their last loss against the Canberra Raiders in Round 17. The catalyst of the Sea Eagles uptick in form is undoubtedly star man Tom Trbojevic. He starts at fullback for this clash against Melbourne in a Des Hasler team now packed with talent, having been ravaged by injury earlier in the season.

Melbourne Storm

The Storm seem almost untouchable right now. They’ve won 16 in a row and – aside from the tight win against North Queensland- have ripped most teams apart and are surely heading towards another minor premiership.

Their massive top two clash against Penrith last weekend was a mismatch: Melbourne won 37-10, with Dean Ieremia scoring a hat-trick: though Craig Bellamy would’ve been annoyed by the two late Panthers tries.

PREVIEW

This clash could potentially be the game of the year: Manly are flying towards a top four finish, while Melbourne seem invincible.

The big question: how will Melbourne handle Tom Trbojevic? Tommy Turbo is literally the lynchpin of Manly’s success, so if the Storm stop him, then they’ll put more pressure on Daly Cherry-Evans, Jason Saab, and pointscoring machine Reuben Garrick.

“Bellyache” Bellamy will see this game as a semi-final preview, so you can guarantee he’ll have his boys switched on at their spiritual home of Lang Park; they’ll be treating the Sea Eagles as a genuine threat.

Manly will be using this game as a barometer for their premiership chances, which they can build on during their run home (Parramatta, Canberra, Canterbury-Bankstown, North Queensland). The Eels game should decide who finishes in the top four; they’ll be hungry for revenge against the Raiders (who could be playing for 2022 by then); and they should decimate the Bulldogs and Cowboys.

KEY STAT

Des Hasler is the only current NRL coach with a winning record against Craig Bellamy (17-14).

The Storm have 22-15-1 record since 1998 and won both their 2020 clashes (30-6 and 18-4).

It’s been a decade since the legendary “Battle of Brookvale” in 2011 and, of course, Manly fans still cherish the 40-0 win in the 2008 grand final.

PREDICTION

This is a tough one: Manly have the top four in their sights, while Melbourne will see Manly as a genuine threat and will be fired up. The Storm should have just enough class in a tight one.

Storm by two.

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