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Storm welcome Manly finals tune up

With an away game slated in week one of the NRL finals, Melbourne see a hostile encounter with arch-rivals Manly at Brookvale Oval as an ideal way to tune up.
Storm welcome Manly finals tune up
by AAP

By Melissa Woods

MELBOURNE, Aug 28 AAP - With an away game slated in week one of the NRL finals, Melbourne see a hostile encounter with arch-rivals Manly at Brookvale Oval as an ideal way to tune up.

The third-placed Storm take on fourth-placed Manly on Saturday night in a mouth-watering return to the scene of the infamous 'Battle of Brookvale' in 2011 when a series of brawls broke out between the two teams.

There was no love lost when they met in round 10 at AAMI Park, forced to settle for a 10-10 draw when both camps claimed they were hard done by in the penalty count.

"All the players are looking forward to it, obviously Storm and Manly games are always keenly contested and it will be a good test for us," Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said.

"Their fans there are quite passionate and quite loud but most teams are like that, the bigger the crowd and the more noise they make the better."

Only two points separate the teams with two rounds remaining.

The Storm have had two wins by at least 60 points in the past month which, although good for confidence, aren't ideal preparation for the usual arm-wrestle of the finals.

The defending champions are assured a much tighter encounter against Manly, who accounted for Canberra 36-22 last round.

"It will certainly let us know where we're at. A couple of games in the last month, it's been a little bit hard to know where we're at," admitted Bellamy.

Manly coach Geoff Toovey was again critical of the refereeing following his side's recent clash with Souths, which resulted in a $10,000 fine.

Bellamy didn't think there would be any kind of square-up to appease his rival.

"The referees are professional and they've got a job to do and they referee what happens on the field not what's written in the paper during the week."

The Storm are set to retain the line-up which steam-rolled Parramatta last round 64-4, which Bellamy said was a luxury at this time of year.

"It's always a benefit if you can get a team settled and they are playing well and your injuries aren't too bad.

"That certainly helps with combinations and momentum."


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