In what is anticipated to be a battle of epic proportion, two of the competition heavyweights – the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm – go head to head at Adelaide Oval on Friday evening.
TEAM FORM GUIDE
Currently sitting third on the NRL ladder, the Roosters will no doubt be determined to replicate the strong performance they exhibited against the Canterbury Bulldogs prior to the representative round.
Following their comprehensive victory over the Newcastle Knights in round 14, the Storm will be looking to continue their reign of success and make it five on the trot.
Origin star James Tedesco’s (fullback) return pushes Joseph Manu back to the centres, with Mitch Aubusson resultantly shifted to the interchange bench. Zane Tetevano has been named to start at prop and Isaac Liu has been reverted to lock. In a further change, Lindsay Collins has been recalled to the interchange bench.
Sydney Roosters squad: 1 James Tedesco, 2 Daniel Tupou, 3 Latrell Mitchell, 4 Joseph Manu, 5 Ryan Hall, 6 Drew Hutchison, 7 Cooper Cronk, 8 Zane Tetevano, 9 Victor Radley, 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11 Boyd Cordner, 12 Angus Crichton, 13 Isaac Liu. Interchange: 14 Nat Butcher, 15 Lindsay Collins, 16 Sitili Tupouniua, 17 Mitchell Aubusson. Reserves: 18 Poasa Faamausili, 19 Matt Ikuvalu, 20 Lachlan Lam, 21 Brett Morris.
The Storm’s winning line-up remains unchanged for this clash, with all representative players expected to back up after coming through their respective matches unscathed.
Melbourne Storm squad: 1 Jahrome Hughes, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Marion Seve, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith, 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Kenneath Bromwich, 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Brandon Smith, 15 Christian Welch, 16 Joe Stimson, 17 Ryan Papenhuyzen. Reserves: 18 Justin Olam, 19 Tui Kamikamica, 20 Tino Faasuamaleaui, 21 Sandor Earl.
HEAD TO HEAD
After being narrowly defeated 9-8 in last year’s clash, the Roosters will be motivated to make amends this time around. The return of victorious Blues stars James Tedesco and Boyd Cordner is anticipated to bolster the Roosters’ morale and give them a competitive edge over their Melbourne arch-rivals. To secure victory, it is imperative that the Roosters’ front line make it their intent to halt hooker Cameron Smith and his freedom out of dummy half. Restricting the Storm’s advances down the centre of the field will limit their ability to produce offloads and deliver pinpoint passes to their talented backline. Ensuring that Smith and five-eighth Cameron Munster are contained should be of paramount importance to the Roosters on this occasion.
For the Storm, defensive pressure is the key to success. Given the calibre of talent within the Roosters’ backline, the Storm must remain wary of their trademark long, sweeping passes. Restricting the Roosters’ forwards to the centre of the field will reduce the likelihood of their backline being able to muster off-the-cuff football. From an attacking perspective, the combination between halves Munster and Brodie Croft must be cohesive. Maintaining adept kicking and passing for the entirety of the match is vital if the Storm are to break through the Roosters’ defensive line. Also making it their intent to diminish Roosters centre Latrell Mitchell’s influence is required.
THE IMPORTANT DETAILS
Date: 28 June 2019
Venue: Adelaide Oval
Kick-off: 7.55pm (AEST)
WHO WILL WIN?
Expect this clash to be decided by a narrow margin. Although the Roosters will show plenty of fight, it is hard to foresee the Storm falling victim to a late crow.