Why ‘vulnerable’ Storm are ripe for Eels upset
MANLY great Geoff Toovey is the latest to jump on board the Parramatta bandwagon, declaring the might of runaway NRL minor premiers Melbourne is "ripe for the picking" in Saturday's sudden-death semi-final against the Sea Eagles' old arch rivals.
Back in Toovey's playing days there was no greater rivalry than Manly and Parra.
But in the wake of the Eels' record-breaking 58-0 annihilation of Brisbane at Bankwest Stadium last Sunday, Toovey was full of praise of Parramatta's performance and he has no doubt they can bring down the runaway NRL minor premiers this Saturday.
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While betting agency Ladbrokes ignored arguably the greatest ever finals victory and still installed the Storm as $1.40 favourites with Parra $2.90 outsiders, Toovey argued an upset was looming.
"I think the Storm are the most vulnerable I have seen them for years," Toovey told Fox League's Controversy Corner.
"I think they are ripe for the picking."
The Eels are also at $21 to win the premiership while Melbourne is paying $5, the third favourites behind the Sydney Roosters at $2.10 and Canberra at $4.25.
But Toovey believes the Storm have never looked more vulnerable and this might be the beginning of the end of one of the most famous eras in rugby league history.
"With this good win (by Parramatta), I know it was masked by Brisbane were terrible but have a look at all the confidence there. I just think with that confidence if they get a good start they can take the Storm down."
Toovey was also full of praise for the Eels' inspirational skipper Clint Gutherson.
"Gutho was fantastic," Toovey added.
Plenty of questions have emerged about the Storm following their loss to Manly.
The Eels beat the Sea Eagles in the final round of the regular season 32-16.
And while they were smashed 64-10 by Melbourne in their only encounter this year, Gutherson said following the win over Brisbane the team Parra back then compared to now are two different teams.
Gutherson was adamant there were no doubts the Eels can win the comp: "As I said a couple of weeks ago, everyone is backing Melbourne and the Roosters and stuff like that to win the comp.
"We just have to keep going out and have that belief and hopefully put more performances like that on.
"We know that they (win like the one over Brisbane) are not going to come like that every week. We just have to try and do our best."
The Eels boast the longest NRL drought of any club having not won a premiership since 1986 under coach John Monie.
But the way Brad Arthur has lifted last year's wooden spooners off the bottom of the ladder in 2019 has him right in the running for Dally M coach of the year alongside the likes of Des Hasler and Ricky Stuart.