Round two: NRL braces for Saturday spite night

The State of Origin finale might be a dead rubber but there promises to be plenty of spice in a couple of club games this weekend when Melbourne slugger Curtis Scott turns up for a Brookvale grudge match and Josh Morris and Sam Burgess square off for the first time since trading very public verbal barbs.

Scott has been dared to take a hit-up in the middle when the Storm travel to Manly in what has been promoted by the hosts as the 10-year anniversary of the club's 40-0 grand final win.

Just in time: Dylan Walker looks like he might return for the return fixture against Storm.

Photo: NRL Photos

The Storm centre became the first player sent off this season when he threw a few punches and broke the eye socket of Manly's Dylan Waker back in round 11.

Walker ran on Monday and is hopeful he will be passed fit for the latest clash.

Sea Eagles forward Martin Taupau said he would not venture out to the centres to hit the ball up against Scott.


"But I wouldn't mind him taking it up the middle," a smiling Taupau said on Monday.

"I don't have anything against the kid. He's young and will learn from that [fight]. He won't come out throwing punches.

"Dylan Walker has always got something to say. He's a character and someone who can pull us out of the trenches with his actions or words.

"He's renowned for getting under the skin of players and it backfired on him that night.

"There's a lot of talk about our past games but our focus will be to win, not an ugly win that ends up with a punch-on on the sidelines."

Sea Eagles back-rower Joel Thompson, who was critical of Scott's two-week suspension at the time – especially when Walker missed six weeks through injury – said he would not let the ugly incident distract him.

"These are the type of games you don't need to build up too much by talking about it," Thompson said.

"I know myself if I'm getting out there and thinking about ripping people's heads off, I'm not doing the role the best I can because I'm giving away shit penalties.

"I think we need to calm down, relax. When we get out there, we'll feel it and bring it then. That's the sort of way you approach these games."

The Sea Eagles have had little to cheer about this year, and no shortage of scandal, but that still did not stop the marketing department from pumping up Saturday's game as the anniversary over their grand final thrashing of Melbourne.

The Storm are genuine premiership threats this year while Manly will miss the finals again.

Most of the 2008 premiership team are expected to attend Brookvale for the game, although it's understood Anthony Watmough, who was highly critical of current captain Daly Cherry-Evans last month, will not attend.

A couple of hours before the latest edition of the Battle of Brookvale takes place, Morris and Burgess will not miss each other when Canterbury host new competition leaders South Sydney.

Burgess was suspended for dangerous contact when he braced for a Morris tackle and collected him in the throat with his elbow.

An angry Burgess said when he returned from suspension Morris had tried to "milk" a penalty and the experienced Bulldogs centre may have been "trying to get a career in Hollywood after playing football".

"I think the reaction of the opposing player [Morris] had a big influence on the [suspension]. I made a comment I thought youre milking it," Burgess said at the time.

High elbow: Josh Morris stays down after a collision with Sam Burgess.

Photo: AAP

Morris, who returned from a knee injury last weekend, and produced a lovely pass for Rhyse Martin's third try, hit back at Burgess after the Good Friday incident and said: "Im angry at Sams comments. At no stage was the injury faked.

"I was in serious pain and a state of panic and distress and gasping for air.

"If I was hit a couple of centimetres higher, the outcome could have been far worse, which I dont think he realises."

Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.

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