Storm aware of threat from Manly - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm aware of threat from Manly

By Melissa Woods 18/04/2010 12:05:46 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne are under no illusions about the form of Manly, rating their fierce rivals as a huge threat to their NRL title.

The defending champions host the Sea Eagles at Etihad on Monday night after their first loss of the season, to the Titans, while Manly have won their past three.

Storm winger Anthony Quinn said Manly had been impressive early in the season, and it hadn't gone unnoticed in Melbourne.

Bookmakers have Melbourne at $1.36 and Manly at $3.10, which the Storm don't agree with.

"They're flying well under the radar this year so far," Quinn said of the Sea Eagles.

"They were unlucky to lose against Parramatta and other than that game have only dropped one other, which was pretty tight.

"Manly always come down and have a good side and are always very competitive."

After splitting the NRL titles in 2007 and 2008, their last meeting at Etihad was in week one of the 2009 finals, when Melbourne ran out 40-12 winners.

However, Manly's extraordinary 40-0 grand final victory in 2008 was still a sore point for the Storm players.

"It works both ways, we still think about that grand final," Quinn said when asked about the Sea Eagles' motivation.

""There's a lot of history there... it's certainly going to be a grudge match."

Quinn, whose 2009 season ended in August after neck surgery, has scored five tries this season, including a hat-trick against the Titans, but wasn't satisfied with his form or that of his side.

"I haven't been too happy, there's definitely something to improve on to get back to where I was a couple of years ago," the former NSW flyer said.

"I'd give that hat-trick back to win the game, it's a pretty empty feeling when you get three tries but lose the game."

Meanwhile, Manly hooker Matt Ballin is one player who should be happy with his form and is looking forward to matching himself against the game's best rake in Storm skipper Cameron Smith.

"Hookers don't really come up against each other like front rowers do. But it's always good to test yourself against the best in the game and that's what he is," said Ballin, who has been mentioned as a back-up for Smith in the Queensland Origin side.

"I don't really like to (talk up my chances) - if my form's good enough you don't really need to say anything.

"Cam will be there but if anything happens to him there's some other great hookers - Nathan Friend and Aaron Payne up north."

Ballin said Manly hadn't discussed their loss in last year's finals, or their 2007 grand final victory.

"That probably wasn't the way we wanted to finish but it's 2010 and we want to focus on that - we can't really look into the past and I'm sure they won't be either," he said.

"When you get beaten by that many it's always embarrassing but it hasn't really affected us this year."

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