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Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm NRL Grand Final Preview and Team News - Roosters set to deny Storm back-to-back premierships

Andrew Hendrie 26 Sep 2018
  • Sydney Roosters face Melbourne Storm in the 2018 NRL Grand Final on Sunday night
  • Storm aiming to become the first team since Brisbane in 1992/93 to win back-to-back premierships
  • Roosters gunning for first premiership since 2013
Storm face Roosters on Sunday in the Grand Final

Minor premiers Sydney Roosters square off against defending champions Melbourne Storm in the 2018 NRL Grand Final on Sunday night at ANZ Stadium.

Undisputedly the two best teams of the season, the Roosters and Storm collide for the right to be crowned 2018 NRL premiership champions at ANZ Stadium on Sunday night.

Either Melbourne will become the first team since Brisbane in 1992/93 to capture back-to-back premierships and write another successful chapter in their growing legacy, or the Roosters will secure their first premiership since 2013.

Both teams suffer from disrupted preparations for the big showdown, with the Storm sweating on the availability of Billy Slater after the star fullback was hit with a shoulder charge on Sharks winger Sosaia Feki last week, while Cooper Cronk is in extreme doubt for the Roosters after injuring his shoulder against the Rabbitohs on Saturday night.

Slater is set to front the judiciary on Tuesday night in what is shaping as one of the biggest hearings in NRL history. Set to retire after the Grand Final, Slater is literally fighting for his career and the chance to go out in fairytale fashion by winning another premiership with his beloved Storm.

Meanwhile, Cronk played on with one arm for the second half of the Roosters’ 12-4 victory over Souths, but he could barely pass the ball and was merely there for guidance as Luke Keary took over the bulk of playmaking duties. Cronk’s seemingly dissolved relationship with former teammate Cameron Smith has been one of the headlines of 2018 - but will the halfback be able to take the field to face his rival and prove he can win a premiership without the help of his former Storm teammates?

Melbourne have further cemented themselves as the greatest NRL club since the turn of the century, reaching consecutive Grand Finals despite never really finding a permanent replacement for Cronk at No. 7. The Storm were barely out of the top four all season long and have once again peaked at exactly the right time, advancing into the Grand Final with wins over the Rabbitohs and Sharks.

The Roosters took a while to get going this season after the arrival of high-profile recruits Cronk and James Tedesco, but once they gelled and formed combinations, Trent Robinson’s side has been outstanding, especially in defence - and we all know what wins premierships…

Souths had scored the most tries and points out of any club in the competition this season, but the Roosters kept them try-less over 80 minutes, and if they can produce a similar performance on Sunday, they will have the premiership within touching distance.

Obviously a lot depends on whether Cronk and Slater line up for their respective clubs, but either way, I’m liking the Roosters in this match-up. The Tricolours have been gradually building all season long and have been clinical in putting away the Sharks and Rabbitohs across the finals series. Defence wins big games and the Roosters have been the best club all season in that department. Melbourne won their only previous clash this season 9-8 in Adelaide in Round 16 and it promises to be another tight encounter. Even if Cronk doesn’t play, Keary has proven himself as a creative outlet at No. 7 and even if the Roosters can only manage 12 points again, I think their defence will be strong enough for them to hold on for the win.

Stats


  • Storm are trying to become the first team since Brisbane to win consecutive premierships (1992/93)
  • Roosters attempting to win their first premiership since 2013
  • This will be the first time these two teams square off in a Grand Final
  • The last time these two teams played in Sydney, Melbourne won 46-0 (Round 14, 2016)
  • The two teams have split their last four meetings at two wins apiece
  • Melbourne won 9-8 in their last clash at Adelaide Oval in Round 16
  • The winning margin has been between 1-12 in their last four encounters

Teams

Storm: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Tim Glasby, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Joe Stimson, 13. Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Brandon Smith, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Reserves: 18. Ryan Hoffman, 19. Jahrome Hughes, 20. Sam Kasiano, 21. Cheyse Blair

Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Latrell Mitchell 4. Joseph Manu 5. Blake Ferguson 6. Luke Keary 7. Mitchell Aubusson 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Jake Friend (c) 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Boyd Cordner (c) 12. Isaac Liu 13. Victor Radley

Interchange: 14. Dylan Napa 15. Zane Tetevano 16. Paul Momirovski 17. Ryan Matterson

Reserves: 18. Lindsay Collins 19. Nat Butcher 20. Sean O’Sullivan 23. Cooper Cronk

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Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm NRL Grand Final Preview and Team News - Roosters set to deny Storm back-to-back premierships

Minor premiers Sydney Roosters square off against defending champions Melbourne Storm in the 2018 NRL Grand Final on Sunday night at ANZ Stadium.

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