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2021 NRL Round 12 Preview, Broncos Vs Storm

Andrew Pelechaty previews the Melbourne Storm returning to their “second home” at Suncorp Stadium to play the Brisbane Broncos. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Date: Thursday May 27, Time: 7:50pm

Broncos Team

  1. Jamayne Isaako
  2. Xavier Coates
  3. Herbie Farnworth
  4. Jesse Arthars
  5. David Mead
  6. Anthony Milford
  7. Albert Kelly
  8. Rhys Kennedy
  9. Jake Turpin
  10. Payne Haas
  11. Keenan Palasia
  12. Tevita Pangai Junior
  13. Thomas Flegler
  14. Kobe Hetherington
  15. John Asiata
  16. Ethan Bullemor
  17. TC Robati
  18. Dale Copley
  19. Selwyn Cobbo
  20. Richard Kennar
  21. Cory Paix

Team Changes

IN: Anthony Milford
Cory Paix
Herbie Farnworth
Richard Kennar
Selwyn Cobbo


OUT: Matthew Lodge
Tyson Gamble

Storm Team

  1. Nicho Hynes
  2. George Jennings
  3. Reimis Smith
  4. Justin Olam
  5. Josh Addo-Carr
  6. Chris Lewis
  7. Jahrome Hughes
  8. Jesse Bromwich
  9. Brandon Smith
  10. Christian Welch
  11. Felise Kaufusi
  12. Tom Eisenhuth
  13. Dale Finucane
  14. Aaron Booth
  15. Tui Kamikamica
  16. Trent Loiero
  17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  18. Dean Ieremia
  19. Isaac Lumelume
  20. Aaron Pene
  21. Cooper Johns

Team Changes

IN: Dean Ieremia
Isaac Lumelume
Jahrome Hughes


OUT:
nil

Referee: Ashley Klein

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Broncos

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After a poor start to 2021 (on the back of their nightmare 2020), Brisbane looked to finally be turning the corner by beating the Sydney Roosters 34-16 at the SCG, and equalling last year’s tally of three wins. It was their first win against a 2020 top eight team since they beat South Sydney in round two, 2020, and arguably their most consistent performance since that win.

Brisbane shot out to a 10-0 lead, saw the Eastern Suburbs side erase that lead, then regained the lead 16-14 by halftime. The Broncos – so used to second half fadeouts last year and parts of this year – actually won the second half 28-2. Brisbane scored six tries overall, with David Mead scoring a hat-trick.

Storm

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While Melbourne travelled to Canberra without a few key players (most notably Ryan Papenhuyzen), the professional Storm rolled on without missing a beat.

Although Canberra led 10-0 after 30 minutes, the Storm – as clinical as ever – scored four tries in 19 minutes (two tries to Nelson Asofa-Solomona, and singles to Chris Lewis, and Reimis Smith), to put the game away, while Trent Loiero scored his first try for the Storm. More importantly, Melbourne kept a clean sheet for 67 minutes, which would have made the notoriously hard to please Craig Bellamy happy, as well as giving him more bragging rights over good mate Ricky Stuart.

PREVIEW

While Brisbane have improved, winning two from their last four, it’s hard to see Melbourne losing this, as Bellamy will want to keep banking wins before the tricky Origin period.

In good news for Melbourne, they welcome back Jahrome Hughes (but still no Papenhuyzen, who could be out for a month or so), while The Milf (Anthony Milford) returns for Brisbane.

I can see this game following a similar timeline to the Good Friday night game in Melbourne this year: Brisbane started strongly and scored first through Xavier Coates. It took Melbourne 25 minutes to score, but when they did, they buried Brisbane in a scarily fast fashion. Papenhuyzen scored four tries in 11 minutes (and converted them all) as Melbourne took a 24-6 half-time lead. The Storm didn’t let up, with three more tries (two to George Jennings, and one to Cameron Munster) to win 40-6.

KEY STAT

A warning to Broncos fans: go make yourselves a cup of coffee; this gets ugly.

Melbourne at Lang Park: 22 from 26 (85%). Melbourne have won 10 in a row, with their last loss in 2017 against the Gold Coast.

Melbourne vs Brisbane at Lang Park: 15 from 18 (83%). Melbourne have won 10 in a row, with their last loss in 2009.

Melbourne vs Brisbane (overall): 19 from 21 (from 2011) Melbourne have won nine in a row, with their last loss in 2016.

…at least the Broncos will always have the 2006 grand final win…

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Forced to play most of their home games in Queensland last year due to COVID-19, Melbourne won four straight games at Lang Park: beating the Sydney Roosters and Brisbane (an away game) in the regular season, then Parramatta and Canberra in the finals. They also had a comfortable Magic Round win this year over St George Illawarra.

PREDICTION

Sorry, Broncos fans; it’s a case of “Melbourne by how many” here.

Melbourne by 30.

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