The Top 2 sides in the competition will face off in a match that will determine whether the Roosters are genuine contenders or pretenders.

Last Time Out

The Storm travelled up to Townsville to face a resilient Cowboys side. Their job was made much easier when the Cowboys found themselves down to a two man bench within the first 7 minutes. However they could only play what was in front of them and the Storm did enough to record a comfortable 26-8 victory. Billy Slater was the star of the show with 3 try assists.

The Roosters travelled to fortress Lottoland and looked in control against the Sea Eagles before collapsing in the 2nd half. They were ultimately towelled up 36-18 after leading 18-4 at one point in the first half. To compound their misery, they also lost Daniel Tupou to a groin injury for around six weeks. In a boost to their squad though, co-captains Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner will make their returns from injury this week.

Key Battle 

The ability of the Roosters halves to take control away from the Storm.

Pearce’s kicking game will be vital. While much maligned for his long kicks in Origin always finding the chest of Slater, it’s hardly surprising the greatest positional fullback of all time is rarely caught out. What will be of great importance is his short kicking game. The ability to force repeat sets and apply pressure. If he can do that then it’ll go a long way towards giving the Roosters a shot at victory.
The return of Jake Friend will help in that department with his kicking game out of dummy half, giving the Roosters an extra option in attack.

For the Storm they’ll just be looking to go on with business as usual. As long as their forwards perform, Cronk and Smith will be able to ensure the game is dictated on their terms.

Prediction

The Storm look just about unstoppable. The Roosters have a great team but they’ve shown an inability to play for the full 80 which won’t do them any favours. The Storm will win this game. The question is by how much. If the Roosters play their best it’ll be around 4-8 points. If not 14+

Squads
Melbourne Storm
1. Billy Slater
2. Suliasi Vunivalu
3. Will Chambers
4. Curtis Scott
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Ryley Jacks
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith ©
10. Tim Glasby
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Joe Stimson
13. Dale Finucane
Interchange
14. Kenny Bromwich
15. Nelson Asofa Solomona
16. Jordan McLean
17. Slade Griffin
Reserves
18. Tui Kamikamica
19. Jahrome Hughes
20. Robbie Rochow
21. Brodie Croft

Sydney Roosters
1. Connor Watson
2. Joseph Manu
3. Latrell Mitchell
4. Mitchell Aubusson
5. Blake Ferguson
6. Luke Keary
7. Mitchell Pearce
8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
9. Jake Friend ©
10. Dylan Napa
11. Boyd Cordner ©
12. Aidan Guerra
13. Isaac Liu
Interchange 
14. Zane Tetevano
15. Sio Siua Taukeiaho
16. Ryan Matterson
17. Victor Radley
Reserves
18. Kane Evans
19. Mitchell Cornish
20. Lindsay Collins
21. Chris Smith