Storm out to make legends 'proud'
It’s ten years since the Melbourne Storm defeated the Manly Sea Eagles 34-8 in the 2007 Grand Final, and the current squad is keen to repeat the dose when the two sides meet this weekend at AAMI Park.
As part of the celebrations most of the squad of that victorious side will be watching on Sunday, with a couple – Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – on the field.
Lock Dale Finucane is keen to honour their attendance with a victory.
"We really do want to do those guys proud. It’s the 10-year anniversary since the 2007 grand final side played and they’ll be down there this weekend (barring Israel Folau). It’s a really proud moment to play in front of those guys.
"They’ve played in the jersey before you and you don’t want to let those guys down."
There’s also the added motivation of a strong performance to mark skipper Cameron Smith’s 350th NRL game. Finucane is hopeful Smith can take the field and revealed he’s slowly building up his work load.
"He trained a little bit yesterday. He’s not been involved in contact just yet. The club will give him every chance to be involved in that game. If [he does get the chance], it will be a massive occasion for himself personally, his family and also the club.
"We really hope he can be involved."
Billy Slater’s absence and Smith’s injury could have disrupted preparations for the ladder-leading Storm, but Finucane says the team has managed fine throughout the year. It also presents opportunities for young talent, like five-eighth Ryley Jacks, plus newly re-signed duo Jahrome Hughes and Brodie Croft.
"They bring a lot of enthusiasm to our training sessions. Obviously that’s their youth coming out and in their play as well. They are enthusiastic and energetic.
"We’ve had periods this year where we’ve had a lot of young guys during that Origin period, and they’ve really flourished and done really well."
The Storm will need to stop a strong Manly side who will be desperate to prove last week’s big loss against the Dragons was an anomaly.
Finucane says Manly present a strong challenge from 1 to 17.
"They’re good across the park. They have some big guys who give good go-forward, guys like Marty Taupau and Jake Trbojevic are really good playing with the ball and offering the forwards a few options.
"They’ve got strike across the park. It’s their whole team."