Storm v Eels: Katoa good to go; Davey in for Lane

Both sides are coming off losses and will be looking to bounce back quickly as the race for finals spots hots up.

The Storm were favoured to beat Newcastle on Saturday but were blown out of the water by a Knights team that has turned the corner big time in the past month.

The loss pushed Melbourne down one spot to fourth, and with the Raiders, Sharks and resurgent Cowboys hot on their hammer, Craig Bellamy's men need to make a statement in the next fortnight against Parramatta and Penrith.

The Eels found the going tough in Townsville without suspended duo Reagan Campbell-Gillard and Maika Sivo, falling behind by 20 points before a couple of late tries made the scoreline more respectable.

Now clinging to eighth spot by points differential only, the Eels have games against the Storm, Broncos and Panthers to come in a tough run to the finals, although a guaranteed two points from a bye in Round 27 could come in very handy for last year's grand finalists.

Team news
Storm: A new centre combination for the Storm with Young Tonumaipea and Marion Seve coming in for Reimis Smith (adductor) and Justin Olam. Big man Nelson Asofa-Solomona is out with a finger injury, replaced by Tom Eisenhuth. The suspension of Tariq Sims is offset by the return of Eliesa Katoa from an eye injury. Tyran Wishart also joins the bench. There were no changes 24 hours out from kick-off. 

Eels: Parramatta remained as named in Thursday's 24-hour update. Andrew Davey moves into the starting side to replace Shaun Lane, who suffered a dislocated elbow in the loss to the Cowboys. Joey Lussick is the new man on the bench having rejoined the Eels from St Helens this week.

Stat Attack

  • The Eels lead the NRL for tries scored (82) and are second for points scored (475).
  • Eels forward J'maine Hopgood is the NRL's leading offloader with 41.
  • The Storm have won six of their past seven games in Melbourne.
  • The Eels have won four of their past five games against the Storm.
  • Storm winger Xavier Coates has scored 20 tries in 27 games in Melbourne.
  • Brad Arthur will reach the milestone of 250 games as Parramatta coach.
  • The Storm have won three of their past four games against the Eels in Melbourne.

 

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.

 

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