After last week’s snatch-and-grab win over the Tigers, the Warriors travel to AAMI Park to face off with the Storm to decide who will move into the NRL Grand Final. Join us from 7.30pm AEST for live scores and a blog of all the action.
The Warriors will have a tough task ahead of them against the minor premiers Melbourne, who come into this one with a week’s rest after dispatching the Knights 18-10 in week one.
New Zealand will not be concerned about the prospect of facing Melbourne at their home ground, after they won earlier there this year, and famously defeated Melbourne in a 1 v 8 final several years ago.
In 2011 the games are split, with Melbourne avenging their Round 7 loss with a clinical 16-8 win at Mt Smart Stadium in Round 16.
Melbourne have had a steely determination throughout the year, and one game from setting up a dream Grand Final with fierce rivals Manly, they are unlikely to let the Warriors ambush them twice.
However, the Warriors have nothing to lose and will play with freedom under little pressure, with the spotlight firmly on the Storm.
Melbourne came into the 2011 finals series off two conecutive defeats and hardly set the world on fire against Newcastle, but big-game players like Cronk, Smith and Slater shouldn’t take their eye off the prize tonight.
In reality, New Zealand were rather fortunate to come away from the Sydney Football Stadium with the win last week, and they were comprehensively dismantled by Brisbane a week earlier.
Melbourne have had the benefit of the week off and will be well prepared for tonight, and it’s hard to see anything but a Melbourne vs Manly coming up next Sunday.
Key Match Up: Shaun Johnson vs Cooper Cronk
In what might be a mismatched battle, young Johnson will need to try to remain calm and steer his attack around the park.
While his flashes of brilliance are great to watch, consistency, and above all ball control, will be the key to beating Melbourne.
Cooper Cronk will simply have to do what he has been doing all year, and his combination with Billy Slater has become even more potent in recent weeks.
Melbourne will be too strong for a Warriors outfit, who seemed like they played their Grand Final last Friday night. Melbourne by 10.
Will this be as simple as it looks on paper? Or can the unpredictable Warriors provide yet another shock to the NRL finals series? This is an interactive blog, so join us from 7.30pm AEST and leave your thought belows on the action as it unfolds.