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North Queensland head south to tackle the NRL’s top team Melbourne in the last round of the regular season. Join The Roar from 7:50pm (AEST) for all the action from ANZ Stadium.
The Storm are easing into another big finals campaign. They have been the best team in the competition this term, losing just four of their 23 matches, but they know that won’t guarantee success on grand final day.
It is all about heading into the semis on form and hitting their straps over the next month.
For the Cowboys, sitting in 12th spot, it has been a bludger of a campaign. They have only managed nine victories in 2019, in a year when many tipped them to be premiership contenders.
Their woes have put coach Paul Green under huge pressure. Many are calling for his head.
But North Queensland at least come into this match in reasonable touch after wins over Penrith and Canterbury. Finishing a tough season on a high note would be great for the Cows.
The Storm will be without star five-eighth Cameron Munster with a shoulder injury. This means Brodie Croft comes back in to partner Jahrome Hughes.
Josh Addo-Carr has been rested with Sandor Earl taking his spot on the wing. Brandon Smith has also been given the weekend off, as Melbourne give some of their guns a breather, with Tui Kamikamica joining the bench.
It’s still a formidable Melbourne line-up with Smith, the Bromwich brothers, Finucane, Asofa-Solomona and the likes of Chambers and Vunivalu in the backline. This won’t be easy for North Queensland, by any stretch of the imagination.
The Cowboys have made only change with Josh McGuire back on the bench after a three-game ban. Reuben Cotter makes way for the Queensland and Kangaroos forward McGuire.
Michael Morgan and John Asiata will run things in the halves, while North Queensland’s star pack of Jason Taumalolo, Jordan McLean, Gavin Cooper and Jake Granville should make some noise.
The Cowboys have a horrible record against the Storm, losing their past nine in a row, and will be keen to reverse that trend as they look to build for 2020.
Melbourne want to win every game, and will hardly want to start the finals on the back of a defeat. The Cowboys have improved in recent weeks but won’t be able to match the well-oiled machine that is the Storm.
Melbourne to win by 12 points.
Join The Roar from 7:50pm (AEST) for the play by play.
When: 7:50pm (AEST)
Where: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Fox Sports
Betting: Melbourne $1.16, Draw $33, Cowboys $4.50
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Justin Olam 5. Sandor Earl 6. Brodie Croft 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith (C) 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Max King 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Tino Faasuamaleaui 17. Tom Eisenhuth 18. Curtis Scott 19. Joe Stimson 20. Billy Walters 21. Harry Grant.
1. Scott Drinkwater 2. Kyle Feldt 3. Jordan Kahu 4. Tom Opacic 5. Murray Taulagi 6. John Asiata 7. Michael Morgan (C) 8. Scott Bolton 9. Jake Granville 10. Jordan McLean (VC) 11. Gavin Cooper 12. Shane Wright 13. Jason Taumalolo 14. Josh McGuire 15. Coen Hess 16. Peter Hola 17. Francis Molo 18. Corey Jensen 19. Reuben Cotter 20. Tom Gilbert 21. Jake Clifford.