Brad Inger previews the round seven clash between the Storm and the Warriors. Here’s what we have to look forward to.
Melbourne Storm Vs New Zealand Warriors
Venue: AAMI Park
Date: Monday April 25, 7:00pm (9:00pm NZ Time)
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Nick Meaney 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. Brandon Smith 15. Tyran Wishart 16. Trent Loiero 17. Tepai Moeroa 18. Chris Lewis 19. Marion Seve 20. Alec MacDonald 21. Jordan Grant 22. Jack Howarth 23. Bronson Garlick 24. Cooper Johns
Jesse and Kenneath Bromich are back after being sidelined with COVID; their return sees Brandon Smith and Trent Loiero move to the bench, with Chris Lewis and Alec MacDonald dropping to the extended bench.Embed from Getty Images
Warriors: 1. Reece Walsh 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak 3. Jesse Arthars 4. Adam Pompey 5. Ed Kosi 6. Chanel Harris-Tavita 7. Shaun Johnson 8. Addin Fonua-Blake 9. Wayde Egan 10. Matt Lodge 11. Euan Aitken 12. Bayley Sironen 13. Josh Curran 14 Kodi Nikorima 15. Bunty Afoa 16. Aaron Pene 17. Eliesa Katoa 18. Taniela Otukolo 20. Jazz Tevaga 21. Viliami Vailea 22. Rocco Berry 23. Valingi Kepu 24. Junior Ratuva 25. Garrett Smith
A few minor changes for the visitors, Matt Lodge returns after being ruled out with injury midweek last round, and Jazz Tevaga is back from suspension and included on the extended bench.
Referee: Chris Butler
The Storm comes into round seven on a three-game winning streak, with the last being an impressive 34-18 victory against the Sharks. Melbourne is a dangerous side with attacking threats all over the park. Harry Grant will look to scoot out of dummy-half plenty in the match’s early stages to tire the Warrior’s large pack. If they can do that and control the middle, they will be able to target the edges, kicking to Xavier Coates, who should have the advantage in the air versus Dallin Watene-Zelezniak.
The Warriors come into this match still hurting from a close 22-14 defeat to the Roosters. Their forward pack is integral to them finding success, they were flat in round six, and it saw them struggle to get back into the contest. If Addin Fonua-Blake and Matt Lodge can get the New Zealand side started on the right foot and bend that defensive line, it should allow their exciting spine the time needed to create scoring opportunites.
The ANZAC day battle has been a great spectacle, albeit a one-sided one. The Storm are building momentum, and despite being heavy favourites, they will not take the Warriors lightly. It will be a massive challenge for the New Zealand side, but they have been known to score upset victories over the Storm in the past. It should be a great match and the perfect way to end round seven.Embed from Getty Images
In the 47 clashes between these sides, results lean in the home side’s favour, with the Storm having 29 victories to the Warriors 16; they also have battled to two draws. The Storm has dominated this annual ANZAC clash, with the Warriors unable to enter the winner’s circle since 2014. Melbourne is also currently on a seven-game winning streak against the New Zealand side, so history is genuinely against the visitors.
Storm by 18.
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