The New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm will go head to head on Saturday night at AAMI Park. Storm are currently sitting 2nd on the ladder while the Warriors are 12th. Looking at both teams positions at this point in the season, most would assume it would be an easy win for the Storm but the Warriors have been known to be a bogey team for the squad over past years so it will be an interesting game to watch.

LAST TIME OUT

Melbourne Storm secured the two points in round seven with a 26-30 defeat over the Manly Sea Eagles. Storm claimed 70% possession in the first 18 minutes and made good use of it by scoring a point per minute. The Sea Eagles put up a tough fight but in the end Storm’s big names stepped up and got one over on the Eagles. The deciding factor was Storms exceptional completion rate of 91% with a successful 30 out of 33 sets completed which made scoring 6 tries an easy task, especially since the Eagles defence was not up to standard. Storm made hardly any errors which as they only spilled the ball a total of five times throughout the entire game. This was a massive improvement from their performances so far this year as they are currently leading the NRL with the worst error rate.

The Warrior’s may have lost 20-8 to the Canberra Raiders but there were many positives to be taken out of it. It goes without saying, the Raiders are one of the strongest teams in the competition at the moment but the Warrior’s stepped up and matched them, especially in the forwards. There were a lot of decisions that went against the Warrior’s and everything seemed to be against them but they never lost spirit and played hard till the very end resulting in a 46% possession rate and a total of 380 tackles. This game proved how far the Warriors have come since the beginning of the season and gave fans hope that maybe the Warriors stand a chance this season.

KEY BATTLE

Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors have already met this season in round 2 where Storm came out on top 26-10. Now that Kieran Foran is apart of the squad, there will be a whole new dynamic to the game. Although Storm are currently 2nd on the ladder and despite their excellent performance in round 7, they are leading the NRL with the worst error rate after six rounds with 77 errors. Storm also conceded 26 points last week against the Manly Sea Eagles which could be a risky move if they allow this to happen against the Warrior’s. The Warrior’s are known to punish teams who let down their guard and with the addition of Kieran Foran and the combination of Shaun Johnson, if Storm make too many mistakes it will allow the Warrior’s to score too many points for Storm to catch up.

PREDICTION

The game will be taking place on ANZAC day which will leave emotions running high and players wanting to prove themselves. The Warrior’s often have the ability to throw Storm off their game and with Kieran Foran apart of their squad, it adds to their arsenal. I believe the Warrior’s will put up a strong fight and make Storm work hard but in the end, Storm will take the win – but it won’t be a landslide.

Melbourne Storm by 12

SQUADS

Melbourne Storm v Warriors, AAMI Park, Tuesday 4pm (AEST)

Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. William Chambers 4. Cheyse Blair 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Jordan McLean 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Christian Welch 15. Tim Glasby 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Cameron Munster 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Joe Stimson 20. Mark Nicholls 21. Tui Kamikamica

Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Blake Ayshford 3. David Fusitua 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering 14. Nathaniel Roache 16. Ligi Sao 17. Sam Lisone 18. Ben Matulino 21. Mafoa’aeata Hingano