2024 NRL: Round 15 Preview, Warriors vs Storm

Check out the match preview and prediction for the round 15 clash between the Warriors and the Storm.

MATCHDAY NEWS

MATCHDAY SCHEDULE

New Zealand Warriors Vs Melbourne Storm
Venue: Mt Smart Stadium, Auckland
Date: Saturday June 15, 5:30pm AEST

MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS

Warriors: 1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad, 2. Dallin Watene-Zelezniak, 3. Rocco Berry, 4. Adam Pompey, 5. Marcelo Montoya, 6. Te Maire Martin, 7. Shaun Johnson, 8. Addin Fonua-Blake, 9. Wayde Egan, 10. Jackson Ford, 11. Marata Niukore, 12. Mitchell Barnett, 13. Tohu Harris, 14. Chanel Harris-Tavita, 15. Dylan Walker, 16. Jazz Tevaga, 17. Kurt Capewell, 18. Tom Ale, 20. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, 21. Taine Tuaupiki, 22. Freddy Lussick, 23. Jacob Laban

Players cut from final squad:

Storm: 1. Sualauvi Faalogo, 2. Grant Anderson, 3. Dean Ieremia, 4. Nick Meaney, 5. Xavier Coates, 6. Tyran Wishart, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Tui Kamikamica, 9. Harry Grant, 10. Josh King, 11. Shawn Blore, 12. Eliesa Katoa, 13. Trent Loiero, 14. Bronson Garlick, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 17. Joe Chan, 18. Young Tonumaipea, 19. Jack Howarth, 20. Lazarus Vaalepu, 21. Chris Lewis, 22. Kane Bradley

Players cut from final squad:

Referee: Gerard Sutton
Bunker: Liam Kennedy

Embed from Getty Images

MATCHDAY PREVIEW

This is arguably the game of the round, with the table-topping Melbourne Storm crossing the ditch to take on a resurgent New Zealand Warriors, who conveniently welcome back at least one big name to take on the Storm.

That big name in question is their star halfback Shaun Johnson, who hasn’t played since round 9, and his return has seen Te Maire Martin move to five eighth and Chanel Harris-Tavita drop the bench. Both have been excellent in the Warriors’ good recent run of form.

They’ve won three in a row: the first against no less an opponent than the almighty Penrith Panthers in Magic Round. Since then, they have beaten top four side The Dolphins at home (despite a long injury list) and destroyed the Cowboys 42-12 in Townsville last weekend. The recent turnaround has seen the Warriors climb to 10th on the ladder, just one point shy of the sixth-placed Roosters; they were as low as 14th in Round 10.

Another potential addition for the Warriors this weekend could be Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, who is named on an extended bench in jersey 20 and hasn’t played since round 9 either. His return to the NRL has been excellent this season in general, and having his experience and firepower would be an advantage to the Warriors. Although it would be a little harsh on the incumbents given the team’s results.

The return of Johnson sets up a mouth-watering and key clash for this big match, with the Warriors halfback up against his fellow New Zealand international Jahrome Hughes. The Melbourne halfback has missed a few games himself this season, missing matches in rounds 10 and 11. Hughes is always a key player for the Storm, but his importance has increased with halves partner Cameron Munster out injured. Shaun Johnson’s 10 try assists and nine line break assists are both one ahead of Hughes this season, but the Storm halfback is well ahead for line breaks (eight vs two) and tackle breaks (27 vs 10).

Another head-to-head of note for the game are the two wingers known for putting on special tries in the corner. Both Dallin Watene-Zelezniak and Xavier Coates have been in fine form this season, with Coates leading eight tries to seven for 2024, and both having claims on the most spectacular tries by a winger this season also.

Looking through the team lists, you could argue the Warriors have the better team on paper, and with the Wahs in form a win looks more likely than ever. Even the betting companies are struggling to split them.

But the Warriors will have to overcome the statistics to beat the Storm, as they have lost 15 games in a row to Melbourne – with the last win coming in 2015. It’s only five in a row in Auckland however, as a lot of the recent games have been in Melbourne for Anzac Day. Making it hard on the stats side, Melbourne have also won five of their last six away games on a Saturday.

This will be just the fifth away game for Melbourne this season, and their form on the road so far has been a little underwhelming with two wins and two losses. So, the Storm don’t necessarily look as unbeatable as the recent record vs the Warriors suggests.

Head-to-head stats can be found at Number Crunch Stats.

MATCHDAY PREDICTION

Check out all the NRL Predictions here.

Warriors by 8 points.

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