Andrew Pelechaty previews the first Super Saturday game: Melbourne against Canterbury-Bankstown. This is what we have to look forward to.
In typical Melbourne fashion, the 10-2 Storm have settled into second place on points differential after beating Newcastle 26-16 at their new home – Sunshine Coast Stadium. While the Storm scored four tries in another clinical display (Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Smith, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Tino Faasuamaleaui), the highlight was Papenhuyzen’s 90-metre solo run in the first half, which gave Melbourne a commanding 18-6 halftime lead.
After beating Newcastle in round 11, the Bulldogs (2-10) backed it up with a gallant performance against Parramatta. Trailing 18-0 after 28 minutes, the Bulldogs scored three straight tries (Raymond Faitala-Mariner, Jake Averillo, Marcelo Montoya), with Averillo’s Superman-eque try sure to be part of the NRL’s marketing campaigns for years to come. Pleasingly, the Dogs kept Parra scoreless for over 50 minutes, but couldn’t find the winning try.
1. Nicholas Hynes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Tom Eisenhuth 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Ryley Jacks 15. Tino Fa’asuamaleaui 16. Albert Vete 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Darryn Schonig 19. Chris Lewis 20. Cooper Johns 21. Sandor Earl.
1. Nick Meaney 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Tim Lafai 4. Jake Averillo 5. Marcelo Montoya 6. Kieran Foran 7. Lachlan Lewis 8. Ofahiki Ogden 9. Sione Katoa 10. Dylan Napa 11. Josh Jackson 12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner 13. Luke Thompson 14. Jeremy Marshall-King 15. Aiden Tolman 16. Sauaso Sue 17. Reimis Smith 19. Kerrod Holland 20. Renouf To’omaga 21. Chris Smith 22. Matt Doorey
The head-to-head between these two sides is close, with Canterbury leading 21-20 since 1998. Melbourne won both games last year: 18-16 in round four (with Cameron Smith’s three goals from three the difference), and a more convincing 28-6 in round 11, with Josh Addo-Carr scoring two of the Storm’s four tries.
Of course, Storm fans will remember their 2012 grand final win over the Bulldogs (14-4), the Victorian’s club’s second “official” premiership, which capped a remarkable comeback after the 2010 salary cap scandal.
BATTLE TO WATCH
Cameron Munster vs Kieran Foran
A crucial battle of the halfbacks.
With Cameron Smith out for a couple of week with a shoulder injury, more responsibility falls onto Cameron Munster. The Queenslander has played in eight of the Storm’s 10 wins, taking over the goalkicking duties against Newcastle after Smith’s injury and kicking three goals. Munster has helped the Storm rack up some big scores against the Warriors, Titans, and Broncos, with five try assists, four line break assists and 14 offloads.
Kieran Foran has been a big part of Canterbury’s gradually improving form, with a win against Newcastle, and close losses to St George Illawarra and Parramatta. Like Munster, he’s been handy in attack (though Canterbury don’t have the strikepower that Melbourne has), with six try assists and four line break assists.
Unable to play in Victoria, the Storm are settling into their new home on the Sunshine Coast. Expect them to win this comfortably, though Canterbury will still be competitive.
Melbourne by 12.
Date: Saturday, August 8.
Venue: Sunshine Coast Stadium,