The Tigers made headlines for the wrong reasons this week, and coming off a thumping against Canberra, unfortunately have an even tougher match-up on Sunday. The Storm have started the season 3-0, but will look to right their mistakes against the Broncos last Thursday, where they coughed up the ball too much.
LAST TIME OUT
The Tigers traveled to Canberra as huge underdogs, regardless of the Raiders winless record at the time. The Raiders absolutely destroyed a weak forward pack, running nearly 500 metres more than what the Tigers accounted for, led by Josh Papali. The Raiders right edge of Leilua and Rapana inspired the team with huge performances, with Rapana scoring three tries. The Tigers were ridden with mistakes, and only managed a 59% completion rate on their sets. Even though they scored first, the Tigers were never really in the match and the Raiders eventually caught fire. Jason Taylor’s sacking will be a huge negative in the short term, and the team will struggle to play consistent footy from now on.
The Storm once again had a tight affair against the Broncos at AAMI Park, which has been the case since 2015. The Storm had no answer for Brisbane’s defence and was forced into a lot of mistakes. The match winning try was not class, it was simply luck. Josh Addo-Carr was in the right place at the right time after deflections from two Broncos players to score a try. Cameron Smith converted from the sideline to give the Storm a 14-12 victory. The Storm’s defence has been absolutely brilliant through three rounds, but it is their attack that needs to find some form. Their completion percentage sat at 74%, and a total of 11 errors last week, and Coach Bellamy’s message will be clear moving forward.
The fullbacks will be the focal points of both teams, on both sides of the ball, assuming Tedesco can ignite himself to what we saw last year. Slater’s return last week was a momentous occasion for Melbourne. His play was a little better than expected; where he was crafty on the attack, and his mere presence in the backline will give them a more reliable option looking forward.
Tedesco was the Dally M Fullback of the year in 2016, so we know what to expect from him. Form of late has been a worry, and the Tigers as a whole are in the same boat. If Tedesco can break the defensive line led by Slater, and use the blinding pace we as fans are itching to see, we will witness an exciting battle.
Melbourne’s attack needs to pick up significantly, and a matchup against a struggling side is the perfect way to fire up. The Tigers may as well be written off for the rest of the year, with a quality coach being sacked from an unprofessional front office – They will simply be looking for positives out of this game. Storm by 14
Tigers: 1 James Tedesco 2 David Nofoaluma 3 Kevin Naiqama 4 Michael Chee Kam 5 Moses Suli 6 Mitchell Moses 7 Luke Brooks 8 Aaron Woods (c) 9 Matt McIlwrick 10 Ava Seumanufagai 11 Sauaso Sue 12 Chris Lawrence 13 Elijah Taylor 14 Tim Grant 15 Josh Aloiai 16 Joel Edwards 17 Matt Ballin 18 Justin Hunt 19 Kyle Lovett 20 Jamal Idris 21 Junior Tatola
Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Young Tonumaipea 3. William Chambers 4. Cheyse Blair 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (c) 10. Jordan McLean 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Christian Welch 15. Tim Glasby 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Vincent Leuluai 18. Mark Nicholls 19. Joe Stimson 20. Justin Olam 21. Brodie Croft