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Good Friday will be headlined by a grand final rematch, with the Melbourne Storm at home and seeking revenge against Cooper Cronk and the Sydney Roosters. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 7:55pm (AEDT).
When the sides met in last year’s grand final, it was Cronk who dominated all the talk. Up against his old side, he played with major injury, barely touching the ball as Luke Keary and the forwards led the Roosters to the premiership.
The defending premiers are starting to hit form in 2019 as well. After a shocking opening loss to the South Sydney Rabbitohs, they have begun to come good, with the World Club Challenge trip to England clearly hampering their early season form.
If Keary was good in the grand final, then he has been outstanding to begin the new season, with the half at the top of the game and pushing for an Origin call-up.
Of course, he hasn’t done it on his own, and it’s the Roosters forwards who have the biggest challenge in this game, as they look to do what they did in last year’s grand final and contain the ferocious Melbourne pack.
They certainly have the weaponry to do so though, with Sio Siua Taukeiaho and Jared Waerea-Hargreaves leading the charge, although their defence loses some impact with tackling machine Jake Friend missing through injury.
As mentioned, the Storm do have an outstanding forward pack, but they haven’t quite hit their stride in 2019, which could be said about the entire team.
They have been scrappy at their best and poor at their worst, but keep finding ways to win, bringing an undefeated five and nothing record into Good Friday.
It’s the ideal spot to be for a team who are in their first season without Billy Slater, but Cameron Smith has kept things controlled, while the evolution of Queensland and Australian half Cameron Munster continues to go from strength to strength.
If they are to win this game though, they must win the arm wrestle up front, while also making the most of their opportunities by getting the ball to Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr, who will fancy their chances against defensively susceptible wingers Matt Ikuvalu and Daniel Tupou.
Another tough game to tip this, but with revenge on the mind and home ground advantage, the Storm should continue their unbeaten start to the season in a belter.
Storm by 2.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of this Good Friday grand final rematch from 7:55pm (AEDT) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 7:55pm (AEDT)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Live, Fox League 502 and Nine Network
Online: Live, Foxtel app, Foxtel now, Kayo Sports, NRL Digital Pass, 9Now
Betting: Storm $1.90, Roosters $1.90
Overall record: Played 36, Roosters 20, Storm 16
Last meeting: 2018 grand final – Roosters 21 defeat Storm 6 at ANZ Stadium, Homebush
Last five: Storm 3, Roosters 2
Record at venue: Played 7, Storm 5, Roosters 2
Referees: Ashley Klein, Grant Atkins
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 (c), 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Tui Kamikamica, 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 18. Billy Walters, 19. Patrick Kaufusi, 20. Albert Vete, 21. Curtis Scott
1. James Tedesco, 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Latrell Mitchell, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Matt Ikuvalu, 6. Luke Keary, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jared Warea-Hargreaves, 9. Victor Radley, 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho, 11. Boyd Cordner (c), 12. Angus Crichton, 13. Zane Tetevano
Interchange: 14. Lindsay Collins, 15. Nat Butcher, 16. Poasa Faamausili, 17. Mitchell Aubusson, 18. Sam Verrills, 18. Sitili Tupouniua, 20. Joshua Curran, 23. Lachlan Lam