Mark Barnes previews the Friday night blockbuster between the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters.
Melbourne Storm Vs Sydney Roosters
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Date: Friday August 26, 7:55pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Young Tonumaipea 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. Kenny Bromwich 13. Brandon Smith 14. Chris Lewis 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tom Eisenhuth 17. Josh King 18. Alec MacDonald 19. Trent Loiero 20. William Warbrick 21. Cooper Johns 22. Marion Seve
Felise Kaufusi (personal) returns which sees Tui Kamikamica go to the bench. Xavier Coates is named but must still pass HIA protocols to play.Embed from Getty Images
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Paul Momirovski 4. Joseph Manu 5. Joseph Suaalii 6. Luke Keary 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Matthew Lodge 11. Angus Crichton 12. Nat Butcher 13. Victor Radley 14. Connor Watson 15. Egan Butcher 16. Lindsay Collins 17. Siosiua Taukeiaho 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Terrell May 20. Siua Wong 21. Fletcher Baker 22. Oliver Gildart
Two massive returns for the Roosters with Lindsay Collins (concussion) and Siosiua Taukeiaho (cheekbone) both coming onto the Roosters bench as welcome returns against the Storm pack. Terrell May and Oliver Gildart go to the reserves. Paul Momirovski is back after being a late out last week moving Drew Hutchison to 18th man.
Referee: Adam Gee
Two of the league’s hottest teams meet in a Friday night blockbuster at AAMI Park as the Melbourne Storm host the Sydney Roosters in what shapes as the match of the round.
For the Storm, one win in their final two matches will ensure a double chance and an eighth straight top-four finish.
The Roosters can keep their own top-four hopes alive through victory as they look to extend a six-match winning streak but are still not locked in to a top 8 finish despite sitting sixth on the competition ladder. There is a huge amount on the line for both clubs.
Last weekend the Roosters delivered a 72-6 demolition of the Tigers at the SCG – an amazing farewell for their temporary home ground of the past four seasons.
Nat Butcher has filled in starting on the right edge for the Roosters since Sitili Topouniua went down and has been a revelation. The edge backorder scored four tries last week and now has seven tries in his past four matches.
Likewise, Angus Crichton has terrorised the opposite edge, with two tries and three line breaks last week. Much of the backrowers potency in the Roosters team is thanks to switching Sam Walker and Luke Keary, which has rejuvenated the Roosters attack and see both halves fire.
With the Storm’s edge and outside back defence looking shaky this season, expect the Roosters to target the Storm out wide and stars James Tedesco and Joey Manu to fire off the back of that.
The Roosters middle rotation also receives a huge boost with Lindsay Collins and Siosiua Taukeiaho bolstering a pack that’s been dominating opposition teams for field poison and metres, making for an intriguing clash against the Storm forwards.
For the Storm, they continue to switch Cameron Munster to fullback and reap the benefits that freedom has created. It is expected despite being named at six, that Munster will once again be moved to fullback before kick-off.
It is no coincidence the Storms attack has looked better with Munster’s shift, culminating in putting 60 points on the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last week.
The match was also a welcome return to form for Harry Grant, who has been solid but unspectacular post Origin. Grant scored a try and had two try assists last week, looking very dangerous with ball in hand again.
The Storms stars appear to be firing at the right time, with the new look spine looking dangerous and the outside backs in synch.
With both teams coming in off monster scores last round and off a lot of slick work from their spines, this looks like it may be a match that may very well be shaped by the forward pack clash.
Expect a physical match and the battle of the middle deciding which teams’ stars will have the room to dominate.
It’s however, hard to go past the Roosters having won six in a row and arguably being the form team of the competition, but the Storms record in recent times against the Roosters is formidable.
Either way, fans look to be in a for a rugby league treat come kick-off.Embed from Getty Images
- In Cameron Munster’s three starts at fullback this season he has four tries.
- The Roosters have only won three of the last nine matches at AAMI Park.
- The Storm have won the last five matches against the Roosters.
- The Roosters are currently on a six-game winning streak.
Roosters by 8
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