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2022 NRL Round 18 Preview, Storm Vs Raiders

Matt Pritchard previews Sunday’s match between the Melbourne Storm and Canberra Raiders to be played at AAMI Park.

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MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

Melbourne Storm Vs Canberra Raiders
Venue: AAMI Park
Date: Sunday July 17, 4pm

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Related: NRL Team List Tuesday

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Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Nick Meaney 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Dean Ieremia 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Tyran Wishart 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Alec MacDonald 17. Jordan Grant 18. Jayden Nikorima 19. Chris Lewis 20. Tom Eisenhuth 21. Young Tonumaipea 22. Bronson Garlick

The Storm are looking to turn around a two-game losing streak when they return home to face the Raiders. Notably, Brandon Smith is suspended for his contrary conduct charge out of their loss to the Sharks in round 18. Nick Meaney returns to the wing at the expense of Grant Anderson, with Cameron Munster returning after missing the Queensland Origin selection through Covid. Harry Grant also returns from Origin duty after a strong effort in the decider.

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Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Ryan Sutton 14. Tom Starling 15. James Schiller 16. Adam Elliott 17. Corey Horsburgh 18. Brad Schneider 19. Ata Mariota 20. Corey Harawira-Naera 21. Emre Guler 22. Albert Hopoate

Canberra return after having the round 17 bye. Their last start against the Dragons was in cyclonic conditions at WIN Stadium in Wollongong where they went down to 12-10. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad is out of the side with a hamstring injury, replaced by James Schiller in the seventeen.

Referee: Ashley Klein

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

As we enter the home straight of the 2022 NRL Premiership, Sunday’s clash at AAMI Park between the Storm and Raiders is a prelude to what we can expect over the next eight weeks. Tough, desperate, and exciting footy.

Coming into this round, Canberra sits in eleventh place and are in a battle to keep in touch with the bottom half of the top eight.

If they are to get any momentum, they need to continue their impressive record at AAMI Park and cash in against the Warriors and Titans in the coming weeks.

They’ll rue the loss to the Dragons at Wollongong last start in a game where they didn’t quite get the rub of the green with a few contentious calls.

For the Raiders to be in the game against the Storm, they must win the forward battle and there’s no better experienced forward to take up the challenge than Josh Papali’i. He’ll be battle hardened after being part of Queensland’s win in Origin on Wednesday night.

Melbourne is staring down the barrel of a third straight loss. You have to go back to this time seven years ago where the Storm lost four straight (Eels 26-22, Brisbane 14-12, Bulldogs 20-4, Warriors 28-14).

It was a costly loss against the Sharks with the suspension of Roosters bound Brandon Smith for accusing the referee of cheating. Melbourne will need to work hard on their discipline over the coming weeks if they are to mount a challenge for the Premiership.

Most importantly they’ll be trying to protect their top four status over the coming weeks with Parramatta and the Brisbane close on their heels. A tricky tussle with Canberra is followed by a match with last year’s Grand Finalists in South Sydney the week after.

Cameron Munster’s return from Covid will hopefully settle the Storm side and give them both the direction and leadership to get back on track after a bumpy last couple of matches.

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INTERESTING FACT

Canberra Raiders has an excellent record at AAMI Park that would draw the envy of some of the bigger name NRL clubs. They’ve won six of their eleven matches at the venue, including their last three. Their most famous victory came back in 2019 during the semi-final where they ran out 12-10 in a tense clash. It was a crazy start to the match where Joey Leilua was struck in the eye by firework sparks as he entered the field and was forced to start from the bench.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Storm by 14.

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