: National Rugby League, Round 25, Manly-Warringah Sea Eagles Vs Melbourne Storm at Brookvale Oval. Saturday 24th August 2013. Photo by Robb Cox © NRLphotos.com

NRL Rd1 preview: Sea Eagles v Storm

The greatest modern day rivalry continues on Saturday night when the Sea Eagles host the Storm in their season opener at Brookvale Oval.

With pre-season training now behind them, both sides will be eager to kick-start their 2014 campaign with victory against their traditional rivals.

The Sea Eagles will head into Saturday night’s blockbuster as favourites following their impressive run to the grand final last year.

However, the Storm are rulers of season openers. Graig Bellamy’s men have won every round one clash since 2005, including the 2011 season opener against the Sea Eagles.

Since the Sea Eagles’ 40-0 demolition of Melbourne in the 2008 grand final, the two sides have gone punch for punch. The Sea Eagles have won five, lost five and played out a draw for the first time last year.

Hosting the Storm is always a special occasion of the Sea Eagles and their fans. That famous match in 2011 erupted and lives on in rugby league legend, dubbed the "Battle of Brookvale".

Although tensions have simmered down since that incident, there's still plenty of competitive passion between the clubs and the Storm can expect a hostile Brookie reception.

Coach Geoff Toovey has named a strong side, with recruits Josh Starling, Dunamis Lui and Cheyse Blair all set to make their debuts for the.

Wingers David Williams and Jorge Taufua have failed to overcome knee and shoulder injuries respectively and will miss Saturday night’s blockbuster.

Peta Hiku and Blair will line up on the edges, while Jesse Sene-Lefao returns to the side for the first time since round one last year after an impressive pre-season.

Storm halfback Cooper Cronk will miss the match, with Ben Hampton and Ben Roberts named in the halves.

MANLY WARRINGAH SEA EAGLES v MELBOURNE STORM

Round 1 - 2014 NRL Premiership

Saturday 8 March, 2014 – Brookvale Oval

NRL Kick-Off 7pm

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