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2022 NRL Round 2 Preview, Storm Vs Rabbitohs

Andrew Pelechaty previews Melbourne’s long-awaited return to AAMI Park …

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Storm Vs Rabbitohs
AAMI Park
Thursday March 17, 8:05pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Alec MacDonald 16. Trent Loiero 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Chris Lewis 19. Nick Meaney 20. Bronson Garlick 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. Jonah Pezet 23. Jack Howarth 24. William Warbrick

After nearly a year, the Storm finally return to Melbourne. Their last match at AAMI Park was round eight, 2021 (Friday April 30), when they beat Cronulla-Sutherland 40-14. Melbourne’s umpteenth lockdown then forced the Storm back to the Sunshine Coast, where they played most of their home games (with a few at Suncorp Stadium and Cbus Super Stadium).

The Storm continued their excellent opening round record (they haven’t lost an opening round game since 2004: 36-26 to Newcastle), but the Wests Tigers gave them a tougher contest than many expected.

The Tigers led 14-4 early in the second half (two tries to Ken Maumalo and one to David Nofoaluma) before the Storm finally clicked. 

Trent Loiero, Jahrome Hughes, Reimis Smith, and Xavier Coates went over as the Storm scored 22 of the next 24 points. 

It wasn’t all good news for the Storm, losing Brandon Smith, George Jennings, and Christian Welch to injury.

Smith has a suspected broken hand, Jennings has a knee injury, while Welch has a suspected ruptured Achilles.

Welch and Jennings will miss the 2022 season, while Smith will miss five weeks.

Cameron Munster and Harry Grant return after suspensions, Dean Ieremia replaces Jennings on the wing, while Jesse Bromwich is back at prop after his COVID-19 quarantine last week.

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Rabbitohs: 1. Latrell Mitchell 2. Alex Johnston 3. Jaxson Paulo 4. Campbell Graham 5. Taane Milne 6. Cody Walker 7. Lachlan Ilias 8. Tevita Tatola 9. Damien Cook 10. Mark Nicholls 11. Keaon Koloamatangi 12. Jai Arrow 13. Cameron Murray 14. Jacob Host 15. Siliva Havili 16. Thomas Burgess 17. Michael Chee Kam 18. Davvy Moale 19. Josh Mansour 20. Liam Knight 21. Richard Kennar 22. Peter Mamouzelos 23. Isaiah Tass 24. Dean Hawkins

If the opening round was any indication, Souths may struggle without Adam Reynolds.

Returning to Lang Park (where they lost the 2021 NRL Grand Final), Souths lost to Brisbane 11-4.

Brisbane led 6-4 at halftime, with Albert Kelly scoring for the Broncos (a 90 metre intercept try), and Josh Mansour for Souths.

Corey Oates gave Brisbane a 10-4 lead with 30 minutes left, then second rower – and captain – Kurt Capewell kicked the game-winning field goal with five minutes left.

Latrell Mitchell is back at fullback for his first game since round 24, 2021. Blake Taaffe (ankle) remains sidelined, with Alex Johnston shifting back to his preferred wing spot. Josh Mansour moves back to the reserves.

Referee: Gerard Sutton.

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

This is a big game for Souths: they would have regarded the Broncos game as ”winnable”, and now face the Storm, arch-rivals the Sydney Roosters, and Penrith, which could be a potential 0-4 start. While Manly Warringah recovered from an 0-4 start last year (mainly through the individual brilliance of Tom Trbojevic), Souths will want to avoid playing catch up so early in the season, especially with the bottom half of the top eight likely to be congested again.

By contrast, the Storm can set themselves up for another big season: after Souths, they play Parramatta, Canterbury-Bankstown, Canberra, Cronulla-Sutherland, NZ Warriors, Newcastle, and St George Illawarra. They could easily have eight or nine wins before the blockbuster clash with Penrith in round 10.

If nothing else, the desire to reward their very patient Victorian fanbase will drive them to be ruthless against Souths, even with the Storm’s big name injuries.

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INTERESTING FACT

Melbourne have won their last six against Souths. The streak began in the 2018 qualifying final, which the Storm won 29-28.

Their last clash (round nine 2021) saw the Storm win 50-0. Josh Addo-Carr had a night out, scoring six of the Storm’s 10 tries, including a ”pure” hat-trick (the first three of the Storm’s tries). It could have been a bigger winning margin, but Cameron Munster only kicked five goals.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Storm by 10.

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