Round 1 Preview: Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs vs Melbourne Storm

Bulldogs vs Storm
Saturday, March 9th, 2018
Perth Stadium, WA
9:05pm (NSW), 8:05pm (QLD), 12:05am (NZ)

1. Moses Mbye, 
2. Brett Morris, 
3. Josh Morris, 
4. Will Hopoate, 
5. Marcelo Montoya, 
6. Matthew Frawley, 
7. Kieran Foran, 
8. Aaron Woods, 
9. Michael Lichaa, 
10. David Klemmer, 
11. Joshua Jackson (c), 
12. Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 
13. Danny Fualalo

Interchange: 14. Adam Elliott, 15. Aiden Tolman, 16. Greg Eastwood, 17. Jeremy Marshall-King

Reserves: 19. Asipeli Fine, 20. Kerrod Holland, 21. Francis Tualau, 23. John Olive

1. Cameron Munster, 
2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 
3. Will Chambers, 
4. Curtis Scott, 
5. Josh Addo-Carr,
6. Ryley Jacks, 
7. Brodie Croft, 
8. Jesse Bromwich, 
9. Cameron Smith (c), 
10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 
11. Felise Kaufusi, 
12. Ryan Hoffman, 
13. Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby, 15. Kenny Bromwich, 16. Christian Welch, 17. Joe Stimson

Reserves: 18. Young Tonumaipea, 19. Tui Kamikamica, 20. Sam Kasiano, 21. Billy Walters

The game with potentially the most emotion attached to it, the Bulldogs will want to get one up on the Storm in memory of the legend that is Steve Folkes. A new halfback to go with a reshuffled backline will try and upset a Melbourne Storm team who have had to make some changes on their own.

The omission of Billy Slater (shoulder) has led to Cameron Munster shifting back to fullback, with Ryley Jacks coming into the 5/8 role. We can’t say for certain if that is how they will line up, with Young Tonumaipea named in the 18. For the Bulldogs, the main surprise here is Jeremy Marshall-King being named in the 17. This may not bode well for Michael Lichaa, who was tipped to play 80 minutes otherwise.

While some will say that the key matchup will be the halves, you can’t go past the forward packs for both sides. The depth of the Bulldogs shoves Tolman to the bench, who is known to be an absolute workhorse in the past. The likes of Klemmer, Jackson, Faitala-Mariner and Fualalo will be running hard at the Storm pack.

The Storm have their own beasts, with Bromwich and Asofa-Solomona looking to have long runs early on. Kaufusi and Hoffman will provide good edge service, while Finucane will always be lurking around the guts of the park.

You can’t help but think that this will be a bruising match, with the forwards grinding each other into the ground while the backs try to light a fire with some special work. With that being said, Brodie Croft had a head on his shoulders that screams well beyond his age, and Jacks has been serviceable when in the 6. Expect the Dogs to have a huge start, but the Storm to come back with Smith and Munster proving too much.

Prediction: Storm 24-16



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