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Two long-time heavyweights in the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters face off in unfamiliar territory on Thursday Night football. Join The Roar for live scores and commentary from 7:50pm (AEST) as Round 16 begins.
COVID-19 is wreaking havoc across the nation once again, and as a result, this match has been moved from the SCG to McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle. It is a shame, as matches between these two are often of a particular pedigree that deserves a large home crowd in attendance.
After a couple of losses from the Panthers, the Storm are back at the top of the premiership table. The reigning premiers will be hard to beat from here on out. The Roosters are doing well to keep in touch with the top four despite a swathe of injuries and retirements to some key players throughout the season.
The Tricolours will be looking to inspirational skipper James Tedesco to be at his best in this one after an Origin series win. He has been named to back up from Sunday night, along with Angus Crichton. The Roosters also welcome back from injury young gun Sam Walker and Sitili Tupouniua.
The Storm have four Origin stars hoping to be right to play in Josh Addo-Carr, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi and Cameron Munster. The latter three have to overcome a demoralising series loss for Queensland. The reigning champs will be without Harry Grant, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tom Eisenhuth through injuries and suspension. They have been allowed to name a squad of 23 to cover for their Origin players in the event of some late outs.
The Storm have already beaten the Roosters once at home this season, running out 20-4 winners over an ill-disciplined Sydney outfit in Round 6. They have also won four of the past five matches between the two. The Storm do struggle in Newcastle, however, winning just 44 per cent of the time.
The Roosters will fancy their chances in this one. They have had an extra week to prepare, and have less Origin representation to have backing up. The Storm have had to travel home to Melbourne and then onto Newcastle in the last few days, and have some battered Maroons who may be a little worse for wear.
The Rooster mays not have got the home ground they wanted, but it is certainly better odds than taking on the Storm in Melbourne.
The Storm had arguably the best fullback in the competition in Ryan Papenhuyzen before he went down injured, and now seem to have the most able deputy in Nicho Hynes. They have power all over the park, and Hynes along with Jahrome Hughes and Brandon Smith have been afforded a week off thanks to the NRL’s bye. It is these three, well rested and in cracking form, who will be the difference for the Storm, although Trent Robinson will have the Roosters up for the fight.
Storm by 4
Kick-off: 7:50pm (AEST)
Venue: McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle
TV: Nine, Fox League
Live Stream: Kayo Sports, Foxtel Go
Odds: Roosters $3.70, Storm $1.27 (odds via PlayUp)
1. James Tedesco (c), 2. Daniel Tupou, 3. Josh Morris, 4. Joseph Manu, 5. Matt Ikuvalu, 6. Lachlan Lam, 7. Sam Walker, 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, 9. Sam Verrills, 10. Sio Siua Taukeiaho, 11. Angus Crichton, 12. Sitili Tupouniua, 13. Isaac Liu
Bench/Reserves: 14. Adam Keighran, 15. Egan Butcher, 16. Daniel Suluka-Fifita, 17. Fletcher Baker | 18. Drew Hutchison, 19. Ben Thomas, 20. Freddy Lussick, 21. Joseph Suaalii
1. Nicho Hynes, 2. George Jennings, 3. Reimis Smith, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich (c), 9. Brandon Smith, 10. Christian Welch, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Dale Finucane (c)
Bench/Reserves: 14. Aaron Booth, 15. Tui Kamikamica, 16. Chris Lewis, 17. Aaron Pene | 18. Aaron Johns, 19. Jordan Grant, 20. Dean Ieremia, 21. Trent Loiero, 22. Marion Seve, 23. Tepai Moeroa