Orford wary of Storm strike power - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford wary of Storm strike power

By Cameron Tomarchio 05/08/2008 08:23:22 PM Comments (0)

If Manly aren't 100 per cent on song, Matt Orford knows what the Melbourne Storm will do to them.

"We'll get our butts wiped," the Sea Eagles captain said ahead of Friday night's highly-anticipated NRL grand final rematch at Brookvale Oval.

Premiers Melbourne hold the wood over competition leaders Manly going into the top of the table clash, having won the last two meetings between the heavyweights, including the 2007 decider.

Orford was nonetheless confident the Sea Eagles knew exactly how to counter their all-star opponents.

"I don't think we've ever doubted that we can handle them," the halfback said.

"We've just been off our game. Against a team like Melbourne you can't be off ten or twenty per cent.

"You've really got to be there in every aspect of the game, individually and as a team.

"If you don't then they'll make you pay. It's really clear that we've got to prepare well."

The Sea Eagles will again be without inspirational second rower Anthony Watmough, who hasn't recovered from a knee injury, while Jamie Lyon (knee) and Jason King (ankle) are long-term casualties.

The Storm, meanwhile, have made only one change to the side that thrashed the Titans 44-4 last Friday night, with Queensland lock Dallas Johnson returning after a week's rest.

Manly coach Des Hasler was playing down the hype surrounding the clash, with some pundits labelling it the game of the season.

"This is round 22, it's a scheduled comp game," said Hasler.

"It's not a season-defining game for either side but it's certainly a game that we want to win ... in front of what I think will be one of the biggest crowds we'll see at Brooky for quite a while."

With a crowd of over 20,000 expected and the Roosters and the Sharks pressing for an all-important top two spot, some would argue there is a little bit riding on it.

Orford agreed.

"Everyone is aware of how important this game is," he said.

"It's a big clash. It's top of the table, it's on a Friday night and it's at Brookie. It doesn't get any bigger, really."

Manly go in with plenty of momentum, winning eight of their last nine, but Orford was calling for an improved display.

"We haven't been happy the last couple of weeks, we've been putting probably 50 or 60 minutes together but really lacking in the last 20. That's pretty much the main focus, to play the full 80," he said.

"I think against the Storm you've really got to be a disciplined footy team and you've got to be ready to grind it out."

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