Nathan Smith previews the Melbourne Storm as they host the Parramatta Eels. Here’s what we have to look forward to…
Melbourne Storm Vs Parramatta Eels
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Date: Saturday March 26th, 5:30pm (local)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Melbourne 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. Jonah Pezet 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. William Warbrick 23. Brandon Smith 24. Sualauvi Faalogo
Craig Bellamy has named the same 17 that defeated the South Sydney Rabbitohs last week. However, Harry Grant was ruled out late Tuesday afternoon with a positive COVID test. Melbourne isn’t expected to name a replacement until later in the week.Embed from Getty Images
Parramatta Eels: 1. Clinton Gutherson 2. Waqa Blake 3. Viliami Penisini 4. Tom Opacic 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Dylan Brown 7. Mitchell Moses 8. Reagan Campbell-Gillard 9. Reed Mahoney 10. Junior Paulo 11. Shaun Lane 12. Isaiah Papali’i 13. Nathan Brown 14. Makahesi Makatoa 15. Wiremu Greig 16. Ray Stone 17. Oregon Kaufusi 18. Bryce Cartwright 19. Brendan Hands 20. Ky Rodwell 21. Hayze Perham 22. Solomone Naiduki 23. Luca Moretti 24. Samuel Loizou
Nathan Brown will return to the starting side, pushing Oregon Kaufusi back onto the bench. The only other change sees Wiremu Greig come onto the bench for Jake Arthur.
Referee: Ashley Klein
In 2021, both of these sides featured in some cracking encounters. In March, on a rainy evening in Parramatta, the Eels won in brilliant fashion after Sivo snatched a bomb from the heavens to set up their season. Later, in August, the Eels would get another one on the Storm when their season looked all but gone after a series of defeats.
Of course, their rivalry goes back further than just a couple of encounters that happened last year. Most would probably remember these two sides for meeting in the 2009 NRL Grand Final, which the Storm won, and then their subsequent grudge match in 2010 where the Eels fought their way to a tough victory. Simply put, there’s history behind the two sides that the fans don’t forget.
Both sides can admit to some patchy form to open up the year. The Storm, though two from two after defeating the Rabbitohs last week, were uncharacteristically careless in giving away their lead and nearly snatching defeat from the jaws of victory. The week before, they found themselves close to losing against the Tigers. However, there’s one thing the Storm has always done well, and that’s win – and ultimately, it doesn’t matter how you do it at this stage of the year.
The Eels have betrayed pre-season hopes with an inconsistent start to the season. Hit by multiple injuries early on, their side has struggled with soft defence and ill discipline. Notably, they lost to the Sharks in the dying minutes after Ray Stone gave away an unforgivable penalty to piggyback their opposition up the field. Moments later, Cronulla would crash through the flimsy defence to score.
Both sides come into this match with improvements needed. Craig Bellamy will want Melbourne to be more ruthless in their execution, instead of taking the foot off of the pedal as they did last week. Brad Arthur, meanwhile, will want to see a lot more across the park from his side in both attack and defence.Embed from Getty Images
- These sides have played against each other on 40 occasions, with the Storm having won more at 24 to 16.
- The Eel’s record at AAMI Park is terrible, having only won 2 of their 8 encounters at the venue. The last time they won there was back in 2017.
- The Storm know how to score points against the Eels at home. All up, they’ve put on 246 points across their eight encounters. That averages around 30 points a game. Contrastingly, the Eels have only scored 92 points.
Melbourne Storm 1-12
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