Finals footy comes early with the top two sides in the competition going head-to-head. In what shapes up to be a blockbuster contest, both teams will look to flex their muscles and send a warning to the other sides vying for finals positions.
Melbourne have set the benchmark for the competition and just seem to get better with each outing. Cam Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater all look primed and ready for the run into the finals series and have the Storm in good shape.
The Roosters have something to prove after losing their last match against the Sea Eagles – and there’s no better way to bounce back than beating the league’s pacesetters in their own backyard.
2017 – Rd 16 Roosters 25 def. Storm 24 at Adelaide Oval
2016 – Rd 20 Storm 26 def. Roosters 10 at AAMI Park
2016 – Rd 14 Storm 46 def. Roosters 0 at Allianz Stadium
2015 – Qf Storm 20 def. Roosters 18 at Allianz Stadium
2015 – Rd 12 Roosters 24 def. Storm 2 at Allianz Stadium
Melbourne hold the edge in the last five meetings of these sides, winning on three occasions. The Roosters won the most recent encounter back in round 16 thanks to a Mitchell Pearce field goal. The Storm won the last clash at the AAMI Park and the Tricolours’ indifferent record in Melbourne will give the hosts confidence.
|Billy Slater||1||1||Connor Watson|
|Suliasi Vunivalu||2||2||Joseph Manu|
|Will Chambers||3||3||Latrell Mitchell|
|Curtis Scott||4||4||Mitchell Aubusson|
|Josh Addo-Carr||5||5||Blake Ferguson|
|Ryley Jacks||6||6||Luke Keary|
|Cooper Cronk||7||7||Mitchell Pearce|
|Jesse Bromwich||8||8||Jared Waerea-Hargreaves|
|Cameron Smith||9||9||Jake Friend|
|Tim Glasby||10||10||Dylan Napa|
|Felise Kaufusi||11||11||Boyd Cordner|
|Joe Stimson||12||12||Aiden Guerra|
|Dale Finucane||13||13||Isaac Liu|
|Kenneth Bromwich||14||14||Zane Tetevano|
|Nelson Asofa-Solomona||15||15||Sio Siua Taukeiaho|
|Jordan McLean||16||16||Ryan Matterson|
|Slade Griffin||17||17||Victor Radley|
|Tui Kamikamica||18||18||Kane Evans|
|Jahrome Hughes||19||19||Mitchell Cornish|
|Robbie Rochow||20||20||Lindsay Collins|
|Brodie Croft||21||21||Chris Smith|
The Facts Of The Matter
Melbourne Storm have named the same squad that defeated the Cowboys last week and will want to continue their good form. Revenge may well be on the home side’s mind after the one-point defeat they fell to earlier this year while a win over the second-placed Roosters will almost guarantee a second straight Minor Premiership.
Storm were in total control over North Queensland and haven’t tasted defeat since round 18. Melbourne have been a dominant side in 2017 and will cause the Roosters plenty of problems despite Munster and Tohu Harris being sidelined.
The Roosters led 18-10 at half-time against Manly but failed to score a point in a lacklustre second stanza. Defence will be the talking point with the Storm being capable of scoring plenty of points if given the chance.
Latrell Mitchell has been a nightmare for defenders over the past few weeks and the Roosters will need him to produce once again. His combination with Luke Keary could prove vital to their hopes of opening up the Storm’s brick wall defence.
Normally a game between first and second is expected to be nervy and close. But the Roosters’ failure to score a second half point last week and Melbourne’s form could see the Storm run away with this game. The Tricolours might be concerned about how their defence will cope against a classy Storm outfit who know how to grind down any opposition. Storm by 10.
Who are your tipping to come away with the competition points in this top of the table clash? Let us know in the comments and poll below.
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