SYDNEY — Manly coach Geoff Toovey believes Melbourne should be regarded as favourites to win their NRL preliminary final given the experience returning to the Storm squad.
Manly boast a phenomenal record of 11 straight wins in the grand final qualifier going back to 1975 and his side are coming off an impressive win over North Queensland last week.
However, Toovey is adamant the reigning premiers are the underdogs given the senior forwards returning from injury for Melbourne who blitzed South Sydney in week one of the finals.
Jason Ryles (hamstring) and Sika Manu (back) have been added to a 20-man Storm squad for Friday night's clash at AAMI Park.
Toovey believes the inclusion of the abrasive pair to a team with plenty of finals experience over the past five seasons means the Sea Eagles will need an upset victory to advance to next Sunday's premiership decider.
"Because they've been up there for so long at this time of year, I don't think they have too many weaknesses," said Toovey on yesterday.