Gladiators battle in top of the table clash

camcallsthegame Roar Rookie

By camcallsthegame, camcallsthegame is a Roar Rookie

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    On Friday night, we will experience what the Romans witnessed back in the times when gladiators battled for life and death as the Melbourne Storm and Manly Sea Eagles enter the arena in the top of the table clash.

    These two NRL heavyweights have established a strong rivalry over the past several years, including facing off in the 2007 and 2008 grand finals.

    They may well meet again and look intently at each other in the eyes as they await the national anthem to conclude and the whistle to be blown in this year’s premiership decider.

    Although both are assured to play finals, Manly and Melbourne still have a great deal to play for.

    Des Hasler’s men can still be crowned minor premiers if they prevail in the remaining two games (Melbourne and Brisbane), but they require the Storm to go down this week and then to Sydney the following week.

    If Manly succumb to the dominant Storm side and then drop the ball against the Broncos next Sunday, they could enter the finals series in third place.

    After overcoming the Dragons last week in a low scoring affair (8-6), the ladder-leading Storm venture north where they will meet the second-placed Sea Eagles in the second last round before the finals kick-off.

    In round 24, Manly went head-to-head with the Bulldogs and all but shut the lid on their hope of playing finals.

    However, it was a game which you could say they were fortunate to win. Canterbury had their chances but in the end class prevailed.

    The Storm maintains the number one ranked defence in the league as well as having the second-best attack. Further, they have come out on top five times in the past eight matches.

    The Sea Eagles’ attack is the best in the business in 2011. Their defence is third-best. And they hold a 6-3 lead when playing at Brookvale.

    Oh aren’t we in for a treat this Friday night?

    Every moment in the 80-minutes will count, more than ever – a slip in concentration and loss of focus and the game could be lost.

    Possession will be imperative.

    Manly are a win away from a perfect season at home this year, which gives them an edge playing host to the Storm. Another key factor in Friday’s night clash is the absence of Cooper Cronk, who also missed the St George match last week.

    Melbourne have been performing at increasingly high levels this year. Cameron Smith will resemble General Maximus Decimus Meridiusin Gladiator in the opening scenes when he leads his soldiers to triumph over the Germanic tribes.

    On Friday night, Brookvale will transform into the Colosseum and the two finest gladiators of the year will charge into battle.

    You play Emperor; thumbs up for Manly or thumbs down for Melbourne?

    A Melbourne Storm 16-10 victory for me.

    If you could choose from any and every NRL player in the competition, who would you pick in your rugby league dream team? Let us know with our team picker right here, and be sure to share it with all your league-loving mates.

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    The Crowd Says (41)

    • August 25th 2011 @ 6:49am
      Boomshanka said | August 25th 2011 @ 6:49am | ! Report

      And for Melbourne fans, a big kick in the teeth from Channel Nine, the NRL and FOX sport as the earliest one can watch their team in the southern capital is 11.30pm

      • Roar Pro

        August 25th 2011 @ 1:13pm
        camcallsthegame said | August 25th 2011 @ 1:13pm | ! Report

        I know that I’d rather be watching what should be a thrilling match rather than another Collingwood thrashing when the fly west to play Fremantle.

        • August 26th 2011 @ 1:06pm
          Meesta Cool said | August 26th 2011 @ 1:06pm | ! Report

          Hi Camscall, I will be supporting Collingwood untill 11-30 then switching to game on Foxtel. at 11-30.. not by choice, but at least Channel nine will get no ratings numbers from me.

          I recently read and reposted a comment that NRL are just as much at fault for Scheduling Storm games for Friday Night, they are aware of the way Ch 9 treats the fans, but continue to do it!. I have wrote to them on this subject but as usual, no reply!. Both Nine and Gallop must be replaced ASAP.

    • August 25th 2011 @ 7:55am
      Bill Baxter said | August 25th 2011 @ 7:55am | ! Report

      For Manly to win the Minor Premiership, they must win their last 2 games, Melbourne must lose their final 2 games and Manly must reduce the points for and against differential by at least 57 points.

      Channel 9 must go!!!. This Channel is a Platinum Sponsor of Melbourne Storm and does nothing to promote, expose or support the game in Victoria. It is very biased towards the AFL even without the TV rights and only the NRL which has been very very weak in previous attempts to have the game promoted can fix this!!!. After all it is supposed to be the NATIONAL Rugby League

      • Roar Pro

        August 25th 2011 @ 8:46am
        camcallsthegame said | August 25th 2011 @ 8:46am | ! Report

        Thta’s right Bill. Ch9 only show anything to do with the Storm when they feel they can benefit. The Storm are massive in Victoria now and must be shown that respect from the tv channel.

        The NRl footy show far outweights the AFL version in intelligence and humour also.

        • August 25th 2011 @ 11:38am
          oikee said | August 25th 2011 @ 11:38am | ! Report

          The Storm are massive in Victoria??? Mate outside Victoria they are massive, look at the veiwers around the country, most people like the Storm apart from Manly fans. 🙂

          Gallop needs a good kick up the bottom, he is playing kiss and tell with Gidgnall because he is trying to protect dinosaur nsw jobs.
          Hiopefully the commission will not pander to the muppets and puppets of the game, time will tell, go the Storm, i hope Gallop has to present them the sheild in front of the Manly fans. Do him a world of good and he might realise that the only friends he seems to have left are the very team he has hindered since day dot.
          PS, check the second books while your their David. 🙂

          • August 25th 2011 @ 11:51am
            Boomshanka said | August 25th 2011 @ 11:51am | ! Report

            Gyngell, Browne and McGuire all need to be lined up and “Boned”.

            Public execution is too soft for what these guys are doing to our game.

          • August 25th 2011 @ 12:04pm
            apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 12:04pm | ! Report

            They are massively hated, and I mean that in the best possible way, the same way Brisbane were the ultimate “antagonists” when they were winnning comps in the 90s. The salary cap cheating just added to the ill-feeling. A promoter’s dream.

          • August 25th 2011 @ 12:06pm
            apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 12:06pm | ! Report

            I’m sure the Storm would prefer to be presented with the shield at home.

            • August 25th 2011 @ 3:04pm
              Meesta Cool said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:04pm | ! Report

              This time.can we have the Shield presented by ‘Big Bird’ or ‘Cookie Monster’, (If we win of course) anyone but that other CLOWN.

              • August 25th 2011 @ 3:54pm
                Boomshanka said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:54pm | ! Report

                I look forward to Melbourne hosting Mr Gallop and his entourage.

                Make him stay in Melbourne during the finals series and have him try and follow his competition.

          • Roar Pro

            August 25th 2011 @ 12:37pm
            camcallsthegame said | August 25th 2011 @ 12:37pm | ! Report

            The Storm continue to grow in Victoria and are highly followed by many Victorian’s including a great chunk of AFL supporters.

    • August 25th 2011 @ 11:48am
      Boomshanka said | August 25th 2011 @ 11:48am | ! Report


      Melbourne Storm is well aware of how disappointed our supporters are by the Nine Network’s decision not to broadcast our top of the ladder clash against Manly this Friday night.
      This Club continues to state its position unequivocally and emphatically on this matter. The growth of the game is acutely dependent on regular live coverage into Melbourne and we firmly believe our loyal supporters deserve to be able to see their national game and their team during away games in a reasonable time slot.
      It goes without saying that we too are deeply disappointed that this game will not be broadcast live on the Nine Network Friday. Unfortunately the decision is not ours, it rests solely with the Nine Network. We have been in constant communication with Nine again this week in an attempt to get the match broadcast, but to no avail. There is nothing more this Club can do in this instance. Further we would appreciate our supporters understanding that the game is unable to be shown at Crown this week due to their not being a Nine feed in to The Pub for the game.
      As you know, in spite of this, we have achieved a very good result this year lobbying to have three away games broadcast live into Melbourne, with each game increasing significantly in ratings. We will continue with our best efforts to persuade the Nine Network moving forward.
      We understand supporters wanting to contact the Club to communicate their disappointment however, we ask our supporters to please be respectful to our staff when doing so and more importantly understanding they have absolutely no avenue to change this particular decision on this occasion.
      Yours Sincerely,
      Ron Gauci.

      • August 25th 2011 @ 1:10pm
        oikee said | August 25th 2011 @ 1:10pm | ! Report

        If the game during the super league war either lost or won, they would not be in this situation.
        The game is a puppet run by muppets. Welcome to rugby league Australia, where you cant sit down in certain cities and enjoy a game live, what a weak pathetic backward country we are, and with a prime minister pushing afl down our thraots and trying to promote around the pacific islands while she has breath, good luck to rugby league Australia.

        • Roar Pro

          August 25th 2011 @ 1:15pm
          camcallsthegame said | August 25th 2011 @ 1:15pm | ! Report

          Let’s forget the broadcasting, prime ministerials etc etc issues and focus on the main thing…the game itself.

          Who are you tipping to take the points Oikee?

          • August 25th 2011 @ 2:08pm
            apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 2:08pm | ! Report

            I don’t think he’ll be tipping the home team, Cam. On a different thread he called Manly – who are statistically the most successful side in the last 40 years – a basket case.

            How about a case of history repeating? Manly 13-12.

            • August 25th 2011 @ 3:30pm
              oikee said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:30pm | ! Report

              If they were as successful as you like to make out, their home fans would not still be sitting on muddy wet banks.
              So yes Cam, like Apaway said above, a grappling win to the Storm will do me.
              And statistically being such a powerhouse club Manly are, lets hope it does not rain and they get their mammoth crowd of 6 thousand again. 🙂

              Basketcase is a movie, Manly are real, now thats scary.

              • August 25th 2011 @ 3:59pm
                apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:59pm | ! Report

                We could get into a spirited discussion over the merits of the Sea Eagles, Oikee, but until Melbourne came along, they were the club everyone loved to hate, especially when they started winning again. Tomorrow night will be a sellout, muddy wet banks and all!

      • August 25th 2011 @ 1:33pm
        Will Sinclair said | August 25th 2011 @ 1:33pm | ! Report

        “The growth of the game is acutely dependent on regular live coverage into Melbourne and we firmly believe our loyal supporters – both of them – deserve to be able to see their national game and their team during away games in a reasonable time slot.”

        • August 25th 2011 @ 2:50pm
          Boomshanka said | August 25th 2011 @ 2:50pm | ! Report

          Excellent article here from Collingwood coach Mick Malthouse pretty much summing up the basket case that is the NRL at the moment. It’s a shame we don’t hear these things out of the mouths of NRL officials.

          “Perhaps if NRL bosses were fair dinkum about embracing a national competition, they would do more to promote and develop the game in other states. This includes Victoria, where Melbourne’s support is clearly lacking.

          The AFL recognises and applauds success. Its brand thrives and becomes even more profitable when it gets behind a victorious club. It seems odd then that the NRL doesn’t appear to back a successful club like the Storm.

          Games scheduled to clash with AFL matches, poor television coverage and over-the-top sanctioning for salary cap breaches have all been obstacles for Melbourne to contend with since its inception. Despite this, it continues to do well off-field and is once again dominating on-field.”

          • August 25th 2011 @ 3:18pm
            Jeff said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:18pm | ! Report

            Hey Boomshanka. thanks for sharing Mick Malthouse’s article.. I would love to print out 10.000 copies of this and have each Storm member sign and post a copy to NRL.

            Mick has highlighted almost every thought that I have had since Storm’s injection into the NRL. These are the words of an intelligent Sportsman, not a crazed Storm supporter, — thanks Mick, you are so right!!!!. and yeah david Gallop, YOU are so wrong!.

          • August 25th 2011 @ 8:44pm
            apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 8:44pm | ! Report

            “Over the top” sanctioning? I don’t think so. The Storm got exactly what they deserved for systematically cheating the system over an extended period. That’s not a case of the NRL NOT backing the Storm, it’s a case of having the guts to make a tough decision.

            The other points do at least have a case for the NRL to answer but not the sanctions imposed on the club.

        • August 26th 2011 @ 9:04am
          Meesta Cool said | August 26th 2011 @ 9:04am | ! Report

          hey Willy .. whoever named you got it right first time.. Go play with the yerself again.

          We do not need silly people making wanky comments about the most successful team in the League.. with almost 11.000 signed up members — just maybe you can’t count past 2 though..

          I am expecting to get another silly reply about successful cheats… so don’t bother with this response, I am merely a supporter, not a receiver of monies! Go Storm or Manly!!!!

    • August 25th 2011 @ 2:24pm
      Ticker said | August 25th 2011 @ 2:24pm | ! Report

      Got a feeling that this game will be a replica of the Dragons v Storm last week. Manly and Melbourne both have incredible defensive lines, and I can’t see too many points being scored.

      I’m picking Manly with the home ground advantage. B Stewart last try scorer 😉

    • Roar Pro

      August 25th 2011 @ 2:38pm
      camcallsthegame said | August 25th 2011 @ 2:38pm | ! Report

      It will be a cracker of a game. News from Storm HQ is that Cam Smith is as fresh as he has been all season. Even if he wasn’t, Storm supporters can always expect a 110 per cent showing from him.

      • August 25th 2011 @ 3:12pm
        Ticker said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:12pm | ! Report

        Bad news for the other seven teams competing in the finals series. Smith is without doubt the key to Melbourne’s success, and I’d go so far to say that you could take both Slater and Cronk out of their side and still have confidence in a Storm victory if the captain is playing. The way he marshalls his team from dummy half, it’s like watching a fire – hypnotic. His propensity to consistently make the correct decision means that teams can’t shut him down.

        • August 25th 2011 @ 8:48pm
          apaway said | August 25th 2011 @ 8:48pm | ! Report

          Couldn’t agree more. Smith is the gun player for the Storm and how he didn’t win the Man of the Match last week against the Dragons boggles the mind. He should come close to winning the Dally M and is like a master puppeteer around the ruck.

    • August 25th 2011 @ 3:32pm
      Nathan of Perth said | August 25th 2011 @ 3:32pm | ! Report

      You guys are right, this should be an absolute cracker. Just checked, 11:30pm Perth time, will definitely try and make sure I catch it.

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