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2015 NRL Match Preview: North Queensland Cowboys vs Melbourne Storm

Date: Monday March 30 2015

Venue: 1300 Smiles Stadium

Kick-Off: 6pm (local)

Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Matthew Wright, 3. Tautau Moga, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston ©, 8. Matthew Scott ©, 9. Rory Kostyjaysn, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lower, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 14. Jake Granville, 15. Kelepi Tanginoa, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant, 18. John Asiata.

Storm: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Young Tonumaipea, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Kurt Mann, 5. Marika Koroibete, 6. Blake Green, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith ©, 10. Jordan McLean, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Dale Finucane, 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 15. Tim Glasby, 16. Dayne Weston, 17. Felise Kaufusi, 18. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs, 19. Hymel Hunt.

Preview

Penciled in by most to be a premiership contender, the Cowboys woeful start to the season continued suffering a belting at the hands of the Broncos 44-22. The prolific scoring assault from the Broncos rendered the Cowboys at the bottom of the ladder. 88 points conceded, more than any side in the competition, just 40 points scored tied for third least in the competition, and a points-differential of -48, again worst in the competition.

The Storm played host to unfancied competition in the Sharks, and dispatched them as expected with a thorough 36-18 trouncing, running in five tries, a solid bounce back after their narrow loss to Manly the week prior. The win shifted them to fifth on the ladder, there attack so far prolific tied for fourth in the competition, while their defense has been of equal ability, again tied for fourth best in the comp.

Each of these sides are littered with representative talent, but this contest boasts two huge positional match-ups. Up front, Cowboys co-captain Matt Scott, linchpin of the Cowboys, Queensland and Australia front row. Former Dally M and RLIF Prop of the Year, the 29 year old Scott has been the alpha prop in the competition for a number of years now. Leading the charge for the Storm will be 25 year old Jesse Bromwich, yet to accumulate the resume of his counterpart, but who over the last couple of seasons has ascended into the echelon of the top props in the game, maturing into New Zealand’s top front-rower.

At halfback, it gets no better than a clash between the current Queensland and Kangaroos halves pairing of Johnathan Thurston and Cooper Cronk. Combined, these two have 10 Dally M halfback and five-eighth of the year awards and four Dally M player of the year awards. However, 2015 has been a slow start for the two prized halves, typically among the premier players in the competition when it comes to things like try-assists and line-break assists, each has been relatively quiet. With the class of these two however, it’s only a matter of time before one of them takes a game over single-handedly.

Prediction: Storm to cover the small +1.5 line.

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