Anyone can contribute to The Roar and have their work featured alongside some of Australia’s most prominent sports journalists.
The most anticipated match of Magic Round is here with the top of the table clash between the Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:45pm AEST.
Two teams are threatening to make the 2022 season their own and tonight they meet in the middle of Magic Round in Brisbane.
Conditions are far from perfect with rain continuing to fall throughout the day, yet there is nothing less appealing about the heavyweight match-up between the destructive Storm and the equally consistent Panthers.
Melbourne has been on a tear in recent weeks, with thumping wins in their last five fixtures that included a 70-10 demolition of the Warriors just a few weeks back. Craig Bellamy’s men humbled the Dragons last time out and the odds of the southerners claiming yet another minor premiership appear to be shortening each and every week.
Most pundits see only one team as capable of resisting the Storm and winning the race for top spot on the ladder, with Penrith having also suffered a lone defeat thus far in 2022.
The Panthers also entering the fixture with some very good recent form, despite going down by two points against the Eels in Round 9. Aside from that result, the mountain men had not been seriously threatened in the five weeks prior; establishing something of gap between the chasing pack and the top two.
Team news sees Ryan Papenhuyzen and Reimis Smith unavailable for the Storm, with Tyran Wishart likely to start the game in the number one jersey. The Panthers are very settled at the moment and Scott Sorensen returns into what looks close to the best side Penrith are capable of sending into battle.
However the weather does play out across the day in Brisbane, these two teams are set to ignite Suncorp Stadium. It could well be the match of the season to this point and the public is in for a certain treat when the two best teams in the competition go into battle.
The Storm’s form is hard to not be impressed by, yet the quality of the teams they have been thrashing has not been of serious top eight standard. Penrith have swept aside similarly unimpressive teams across much of the season thus far and curiously, both struggled against the Eels, potentially drawing a similar form line to confuse pundits even further heading into this match.
On a wet night, the Storm could well come into their own. Penrith are top quality, yet potentially at their most dangerous when allowed to set up the attacking shapes that have served them so well over the last few seasons.
With ball control paramount and passing to no doubt be shorter and less frequent, they may be denied some of their best weapons and the Storm will be hoping that is exactly the way the match plays out.
Melbourne in a grind by 4 points.
1. Nick Meaney 2. Dean Ieremia 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King
Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tyran Wishart 16. Trent Loiero 17. Chris Lewis 18. Cooper Johns 19. Jordan Grant 20. Tom Eisenhuth 21. Jayden Nikorima 22. Alec MacDonald 23. Tui Kamikamica 24. William Warbrick
1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Apisai Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo
Interchange: 14. Mitch Kenny 15. Scott Sorensen 16. Spencer Leniu 17. Jaeman Salmon 18. Robert Jennings 19. Chris Smith 20. J’maine Hopgood 21. Sean O’Sullivan 22. Matt Eisenhuth 23. Soni Luke 24. Charlie Staines