Chloe Schibeci previews the Friday night clash between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors. This is what we have to look forward to.
The Melbourne Storm lost by seven points to the Penrith Panthers last Friday night: their second loss of the year. They were, however, victorious in their previous two matches.
New Zealand Warriors
The Warriors lost by 28 points to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last Friday night at Bankwest Stadium. They were victorious against the Cowboys the weekend before.
Craig Bellamy has welcomed back Jahrome Hughes and Josh Addo-Carr to the lineup. Hughes was sidelined after suffering a broken hand, while Addo-Carr returns from personal leave following the birth of his child.
Melbourne will host the game at Netstrata Jubilee Oval in Kogarah, after being told they are unable to play in Victoria amid the ongoing isolation.
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Justin Olam, 4. Brenko Lee, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Christian Welch, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane, 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Tino Faasuamaleaui, 16. Tom Eisenhuth, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 18. Ryley Jacks, 19. Nicho Hynes, 20. Max King, 21. Paul Momirovski
New Zealand Warriors
New signing Jack Murchie has been named to replace Eliesa Katoa, who is out after suffering an ankle injury. Wayde Egan has also been ruled out due to suspension. He has been replaced by Karl Lawton.
Many milestones will be acknowledged on Friday night: David Fusitu’a will play his 100th career game against the Storm, while Peta Hiku, Blake Green and Agnatius Paasi will play their 50th matches for the Warriors.
1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 2. David Fusitua, 3. Peta Hiku, 4. Patrick Herbert, 5. Ken Maumalo, 6. Kodi Nikorima, 7. Blake Green, 8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown, 9. Karl Lawton, 10. Lachlan Burr, 11. Jack Murchie, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Adam Blair, 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15. Poasa Faamausili, 16. Agnatius Paasi, 17. Isaiah Papali’i, 18. Gerard Beale, 20. Adam Pompey, 21. Josh Curran, 23. Leivaha Pulu
The Storm and the Warriors have faced off a total of 44 times over the last 20-odd years: the Storm winning 26 to the Warriors’ 16, with two draws. Their two most recent meetings were within six weeks of each other last year. Melbourne was successful on both occasions, winning one game by a single point, and one by 22.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Suliasu Vunivalu v David Fusitu’a
Both players will line up on the wing. Vunivalu is undoubtedly one of Melbourne’s best players. He has played every game for the Storm this year, with four tries and one try assist. His speed and skill could be a defining factor on Friday night. David Fusitu’a, who is also a talented young player, will play to impress, especially since this will be a milestone game: his career 100th. Perhaps the occasion of a milestone game will motivate him to walk away with a victory over the Storm?
Melbourne by eight.
Date: Friday, June 26
Venue: Netstrata Jubilee Stadium
Kick-off: 6 PM