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2021 NRL Round Seven Preview, Storm Vs Warriors

Chris Rooney previews the annual ANZAC Day clash between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne, Date: Sunday April 25, Time: 6:15pm

Storm Team

1. Nicho Hynes
2. George Jennings
3. Reimis Smith
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. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
14. Harry Grant
15. Tui Kamikamica
16. Tom Eisenhuth
17. Dale Finucane
18. Dean Ieremia
19. Ryley Jacks
20. Trent Loiero
21. Aaron Pene

Team Changes

IN: Aaron Pene
Dale Finucane
Dean Ieremia
Ryley Jacks
Trent Loiero


OUT: Chris Lewis
Ryan Papenhuyzen

Warriors Team

1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
2. David Fusitu’a
3. Marcelo Montoya
4. Jack Murchie
5. Ken Maumalo
6. Kodi Nikorima
7. Sean O’Sullivan
8. Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
9. Wayde Egan
10. Kane Evans
11. Josh Curran
12. Ben Murdoch-Masila
13. Tohu Harris
14. Jazz Tevaga
15. Bunty Afoa
16. Leeson Ah Mau
17. Bayley Sironen
18. Rocco Berry
20. Tom Ale
21. Reece Walsh
22. Taniela Otukolo

Team Changes

IN: Bayley Sironen
David Fusitu’a
Reece Walsh
Rocco Berry
Taniela Otukolo
Tom Ale


OUT:
Adam Pompey
Paul Turner
Peta Hiku

Referee: Matt Cecchin.

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Storm

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The Storm have won three in a row heading into their annual ANZAC Day clash against the Warriors. They had two blowout games against the Broncos and the Bulldogs, where they really weren’t challenged at all. They had a big game last Friday against the Roosters: the Storm not only dominated the second half, but they dominated the middle of the field. Harry Grant stole the show in the second half and proved why he is one of the best number nines in the game. But the current combination of Brandon Smith and Grant is working well at the moment, however there is no doubt Grant will eventually be the starting number nine for Melbourne. Their middle forwards are laying the best platform right now to allow Cameron Munster, Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen to work their brilliance in attack.

Warriors

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The Warriors played an outstanding game against the Dragons last Sunday and will have enough confidence heading into this match against the Storm. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck was at his absolute brilliant self and lead the Warriors to a great win against a Dragons outfit who had won four straight.  Kodi Nikorima is handling the main playmaker role quite well at the moment and no doubt will be looking to running the football a lot more this Sunday.

PREVIEW

A huge out for the Storm, with Papenhuyzen out with a shoulder injury for this clash. One strength for the Warriors heading into this match is their back three. No doubt they will carry the load for gaining metres against the Storm. Yet the Storm will just continue to do what works for them, even without Papernhuyzen; Munster will control this game to his desire and showcase his dominance. Smith will be looking to have a big opening 20 minutes in the middle, as well to help his forwards win the battle in the middle. Grant will look to control the ruck for the remainder of the match: if he can have the impact he had last week against the Warriors, then shut the gates. Dale Finucane will also make his return to the NRL and will be a key addition to a Melbourne forward pack with plenty of confidence.

KEY STAT

Head-to-head: both sides have faced each other 45 times, with Melbourne winning 27 times. The previous two meetings have seen Melbourne dominate the Warriors both times. The Warriors currently boast the best completion rate, while the Storm rank seventh.

PREDICTION

It is always a great match up between the two sides and always a fantastic day of footy. The most recent games on this day have seen the Storm win and win big each time. It’s the trend I still see going into this: and even without Papenhuyzen, I still see the Storm winning and winning well. But, to be honest, if the Warriors can continue to hold onto the ball as well as they can, then who knows?

Storm by 13+

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