Joshua Knox previews the round one clash between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm.
Here’s what we have to look forward to …
Wests Tigers Vs Melbourne Storm
Venue: CommBank Stadium, Sydney
Time: Saturday March 12, 7:35pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Tigers: 1. Daine Laurie 2. David Nofoaluma 3. James Roberts 4. Oliver Gildart 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Jackson Hastings 7. Luke Brooks 8. Alex Twal 9. Jake Simpkin 10. Stefano Utoikamanu 11. Kelma Tuilagi 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Joe Ofahengaue 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Luke Garner 16. Zane Musgrove 17. Alex Seyfarth 18. Thomas Mikaele 19. Starford To’a 20. Jock Madden 21. Tukimihia Simpkins 22. Ruatapu Ngatikaura
The Tigers welcome five-eighth Jackson Hastings back from his stint in the UK as he begins his
tenure in the halves for coach Michael Maguire. The interesting selection in the side is that of
Kelma Tuilagi, who has secured a starting berth in the second row ahead of the experienced Luke
Garner. UK recruit Oliver Gildart starts in the centres in his first season in the NRL.
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Nick Meaney 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Jayden Nikorima 16. Trent Loiero 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Dean Ieremia 19. Alec MacDonald 20. Jack Howarth 21. Sualauvi Faalogo 22. Bronson Garlick
The Storm are without a number of their first choice players through injury and suspension for
round one. Stars Cameron Munster and Harry Grant are unavailable due to suspension, gifting
Nick Meaney and Tyran Wishart a club debut. Xavier Coates makes his club debut after moving
from the Brisbane Broncos in the off season. Jayden Nikorima makes his return from the first
grade wilderness on the bench.
Referee: Chris Sutton
The Storm travel to Commbank Stadium off the back of a strong pre-season and tackle the Tigers,
who are looking to return to the finals for the first time in a long time. The scary prospect for the
Tigers is that even with the calibre of player missing from the Storm outfit, it is still one of the
most formidable in the competition. The one meeting between the two clubs in 2021 was an
absolute trouncing, with Melbourne rolling to a 66-16 victory on a dark day for the Wests club.
All eyes for Tigers fans will be on Jackson Hastings: he will partner Luke Brooks in a halves
pairing that will either make or break their season. Hastings has returned to his best in the
Super League in the UK but will face a different test coming up against the colossus of the Storm
first up. With strike weapons in the backline and big bodies in the forwards, the Tigers will be
hoping to force an upset to kickstart their 2022 campaign.
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The Storm are written off at the beginning of every season however always end up featuring
heavily at the business end. The losses of Josh Addo-Carr, Nicho Hynes, and Dale Finucane
would be enough to ruin most clubs. The Storm have gone out and replaced them with Xavier
Coates, Nick Meaney, and moving Brandon Smith to lock to cover Finucane. The Storm will be
looking to start hot against the Tigers before the return of two of their best for round two.
Halfback Jahrome Hughes was at his best the last time these two clubs met, adding two tries,
two try assists, two line breaks, and six tackle breaks to lead his side to a 50-point victory. The
Storm have scored 116 points in their last two matches against the Tigers after also hammering
them 50-22 in 2020.
Storm by 20.
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