Manly forward Lloyd Perrett says it is a case of expect the unexpected in relation to possibly tackling Melbourne’s Cameron Smith this Sunday.
The Storm, Queensland, and Australian Test hooker has been named in the 21-man squad for the clash with the Sea Eagles despite suffering a minor tear to his left pectoral muscle during last Saturday’s win over Canberra.
Should he play, Smith will become just the third player in NRL history to join the 350-Club alongside Darren Lockyer (355) and Terry Lamb (350).
Melbourne full-back Billy Slater will miss the game after suffering concussion against Canberra.
Perrett said it was a case of business as usual for the Sea Eagles irrespective if Smith takes the field or not.
He added his team-mates were determined to make up for the disappointment of last week’s heavy loss to St George-Illawarra that saw the team slip from third to sixth place. The Storm are the competition’s front-runners and beat the Sea Eagles 30-26 at Lottoland in round seven.
“We will prepare for the worse and hope for the best (with Smith). Any Melbourne team is always good,’’ Perrett said.
“Melbourne are the benchmark. They have got plenty of good players. We just need to be on game and put last week behind us.”
The Sea Eagles head to AAMI Park with just one win from five attempts. The last win on the Storm’s home ground came in 2015, a 12-10 victory
“Manly are in a position where they are fighting for the top four,” said Storm half-back Cooper Cronk.
“Everything they have done this season has come off their elite players, Blake Green, Martin Taupau, Cherry-Evans and the Trbojevic brothers.
“Two teams that are in the top half of the ladder. It is a good chance for both teams to see where they are at.”
Melbourne will wear a replica of their 2007 jersey to mark 10 years since their 2007 Grand Final victory over Manly as part of their annual Old Boys Reunion.
Head to Head
Played 31, Melbourne 17, Manly 13, drawn 1
At AAMI Park
Played 5, Melbourne 3, Manly 1, drawn 1
Biggest Head to Head wins
Melbourne d Manly 40-10, Olympic Park, 2003
Manly 40 d Melbourne 0, ANZ Stadium, 2008 Grand Final
Melbourne Storm v Manly Sea Eagles
Sunday 30 July, AAMI Park
All gates open: 1pm