Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
Round 14 of the NRL continues this Saturday afternoon with the Melbourne Storm taking on the Newcastle Knights at AAMI Park in Melbourne. Join The Roar for live scores and a blog of the match, starting from 3pm AEST.
Newcastle have been one of the form teams of the competition over the past month and a bit, winning six games in a row to be knocking on the door of the top four.
A question has been asked about the strength of the opposition during that time, with the Roosters and Rabbits well down on troops.
That question will be well and truly answered this afternoon if the Knights beat a full-strength Storm outfit.
As they do, the Storm quietly go about accumulating competition points, winning their last four and sitting on top of the ladder outright.
They got behind last week early against the Warriors, but the 32-10 scoreline was a fair reflection of the game by the end.
Whilst much is made of the Storm’s backline talent including Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr and Will Chambers, it is the forward pack winning matches for the Storm.
Their starting pack is arguably the best in the league, and Cameron Smith is controlling matches through their go forward.
The Storm go in unchanged for this one, with all four Origin representatives again turning out for their club team.
No other team has gone through the transformation of Newcastle this season.
Sitting at the bottom of the table not so long ago and with all types of pressure on Nathan Brown, the team from the Hunter clicked and haven’t lost a game since.
Kalyn Ponga has been strong all year but it was the Newcastle pack, stung by a range of criticism, and the resurgence in form of Mitchell Pearce, which has lifted the team.
In fact, last week’s win over the Rabbits was done without Ponga and the pack leader, David Klemmer. They have come a long way in a short time.
Ponga is back in the No.1 jersey this week, with Kurt Mann moving to 5/8th and Mason Lino dropping to the reserves.
Josh King returns on the bench whilst Aidan Guerra has been named in the reserves and is some chance of returning to the 17.
There are few harder away games that going down to AAMI Park and trying to come home with the two points.
I’ve got no doubt that this will be a close one but I feel that the Melbourne pack will get a points win over the Newcastle pack, especially with Klemmer missing.
Melbourne Storm by 4 points
When: 3pm AEST, Saturday afternoon
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Fox League
Online: Live Pass, Kayo
Betting: Melbourne Storm: $1.38, Newcastle Knights: $3.00
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Christian Welch 16. Joe Stimson 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen
1. Kalyn Ponga 2. Edrick Lee 3. Hymel Hunt 4. Jesse Ramien 5. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 6. Kurt Mann 7. Mitchell Pearce 8. James Gavet 9. Connor Watson 10. Daniel Saifiti 11. Lachlan Fitzgibbon 12. Mitchell Barnett 13. Tim Glasby
Interchange: 14. Jamie Buhrer 15. Herman Ese’ese 16. Josh King 17. Sione Mata’utia