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Storm: seconds please - Australian Rugby league News
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globalrugbyleague - Fri, 29 Feb 2008 06:28:00 GMT

The Melbourne Storm will attempt to throw dust in the face of history when they attempt to become the first NRL team to win the World Club Challenge for a second time.

Successfully snatching the WCC crown over St Helens 44-6 in 2000, the Victorian outfit are considered strong favourites to end a four-year losing streak amongst Australian teams in this tournament.

Yet they’ll have to work very hard for it because the way I see it the Rhinos have played more games this year in the current English conditions and will have travelled less.

The essential difference between these two sides is that Leeds will field a virtually unchanged side from the one that defeated St Helens 33-6 at Old Trafford on October 13, 2007.

Melbourne have lost the exciting Matt King in the centres and props Clint Newtown (Hull KR) and Ben Cross (Newcastle). Yet they haven’t lost their pace, their ability to control the game early or their passion for playing for each other.

Two teams who love to score lost of points will be unable to do so in this game and I think whoever gets most frustrated by the efficient defense will go down into the WCC Hall of Losers. I honestly do.

It will boil down to emotion not ability and the loser will lose none of their boasting rights for what they achieved in 07.

Both teams are ready to turn this annual clash of the champions into a physical bunkhouse buck when they step out onto the Elland Road Stadium on February 29, 2008.

Therefore I declare the winner of this contest will be….the fans.

Last year’s titleholders won their respective Grand Finals by huge margins (Leeds 27, Storm 26) yet the writing on the wall screams a close affair which will have both coaches pulling their hair out for the full eighty minutes.

Well, only one of the coaches literally speaking. But you know what I mean.
Leeds (from): Brent Webb, Scott Donald, Clinton Toopi, Keith Senior, Lee Smith, Danny McGuire, Rob Burrow, Kylie Leuluai, Matt Diskin, Jamie Peacock, Jamie Jones-Buchanan, Gareth Ellis, Kevin Sinfield, Ali Lauitiiti, Ryan Bailey, Nick Scruton, Ian Kirke, Carl Ablett, Ryan Hall, Luke Burgess Coach: Brian McLennan
Melbourne: Billy Slater, Steve Turner, Will Chambers, Israel Folau, Anthony Quinn, Russ Aitken, Cooper Cronk, Jeff Lima, Matt Geyer, Brett White, Jeremy Smith, Ryan Hoffman Dallas Johnson. Interchange (from): Antonio Kaufusi, Adam Blair, Sam Tagataese, Sika Manu, Ben MacDougall, Aiden Tolman Coach: Craig Bellamy. - Read More, Here