Melbourne Storm play host to the New Zealand Warriors at AAMI Park in the annual ANZAC Day clash on Tuesday to close out NRL Round 8 action.
Plenty is on the line for both the Storm and Warriors as they clash again on ANZAC Day in Melbourne. The Storm are flying high with a 6-1 record and return to AAMI Park for the first time since their opening defeat of the season to Cronulla, while the Warriors have won two of their last three games and will be emotionally-charged for a big game on Tuesday night.
While Melbourne are sitting pretty in second spot with just one loss to last year’s reigning premiers, Craig Bellamy won’t be happy with his side’s ball control.
The Storm have the worst error rate in the competition after seven rounds with 77 and have uncharacteristically let teams back into games with sloppy handling errors.
After their 11-2 loss to Cronulla, Melbourne returned to the winners circle with a 30-26 win over the Sea Eagles last week, but they were far from convincing and it was only the second time in the last two seasons they had conceded 26 points or more.
Equipped with an unpredictable brand of attack, the Warriors will be licking their lips in anticipation of again troubling the Storm - but this time they may get rewarded with multiple errors as well.
The Warriors have conquered Melbourne 16 times since both teams entered the competition and have won on three of their last seven visits to AAMI Park.
With Kieran Foran now giving the Warriors some structure, the Kiwi club are perfectly positioned to land another ANZAC Day upset over the Storm.
I really think the Warriors are good value here. Their spine of Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, Kieran Foran, Shaun Johnson and Issac Luke is as good as any in the competition, and considering they’ve consistently troubled Melbourne in the past, they have the ability to put some points on the board - especially when you consider the Storm’s poor errors and defence last week. Warriors to win a nail-biter.
- Melbourne have won their last three meetings, including a 26-10 victory earlier this season
- Warriors won three of seven games at AAMI Park
- Storm lead overall H2H 21-16
Will Chambers returns at centre for Melbourne, with Young Tonumaipea dropping back to the bench.
The Warriors have named an unchanged 17 from the side that lost to Canberra last week.
Storm: 1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. William Chambers 4. Cheyse Blair 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Jordan McLean 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Christian Welch 15. Tim Glasby 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 17. Cameron Munster 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Joe Stimson 20. Mark Nicholls 21. Tui Kamikamica
Warriors: 1. Roger Tuivasa-Sheck 2. Blake Ayshford 3. David Fusitua 4. Solomone Kata 5. Ken Maumalo 6. Kieran Foran 7. Shaun Johnson 8. James Gavet 9. Issac Luke 10. Jacob Lillyman 11. Bodene Thompson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Simon Mannering 14. Nathaniel Roache 15. Charlie Gubb 16. Ligi Sao 17. Sam Lisone 18. Ben Matulino 20. Bunty Afoa 21. Mafoa’aeata Hingano 22. Mason Lino