Round 3 Preview: Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys


Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys 
AAMI Park
Thursday 22 March 
8:05pm NSW, 7:05pm QLD, 10:05pm NZ

Melbourne Storm:
1. Billy Slater 
2. Suliasi Vunivalu 
3. Will Chambers 
4. Curtis Scott 
5. Joshua Addo-Carr 
6. Cameron Munster 
7. Brodie Croft 
8. Jesse Bromwich 
9. Cameron Smith 
10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 
11. Joe Stimson 
12. Ryan Hoffman 
13. Dale Finucane 

Interchange: 14. Tim Glasby 15. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano 

Reserves: 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Tui Kamikamica 20. Billy Walters 21. Brandon Smith 

North Queensland Cowboys:
1. Ben Hampton 
2. Kyle Feldt 
3. Justin O’Neill 
4. Javid Bowen 
5. Antonio Winterstein 
6. Michael Morgan 
7. Johnathon Thurston 
8. Matthew Scott 
9. Jake Granville 
10. Jordan McLean 
11. Gavin Cooper 
12. Coen Hess 
13. Jason Taumalolo 

Interchange: 14. Te Maire Martin 15. John Asiata 16. Scott Bolton 17. Ethan Lowe 

Reserves: 18. Corey Jensen 19. Kyle Laybutt 20. Francis Molo 21. Enari Tuala 

The 2017 NRL Grand Final re-match. Last year the Cowboys practically limped onto the finals and had a "Us against the world" attitude that saw them beat Sharks, Eels and Roosters to make it to the decider against Melbourne Storm. They did this without their general Johnathon Thurston and forwards leader Matt Scott. 

Unsurprisingly the Storm won convincingly despite a brave Cowboys outfit matching it for the opening 25 minutes before the Storm took hold and won the premiership. This game looks to be different with their co-captains back to help get revenge on he reigning premiers. 

The Cowboys have looked a bit rusty to start the season with a close win over Sharks in round 1 and a loss v Broncos in round 2. While Storm lost to the Tigers in round 2 but won convincingly against the Bulldogs in round 1. 


Brodie Croft v Johnathon Thurston 

Brodie Croft faces his biggest match up in his short career so far. Coming up against arguably the best halfback in the game. Thurston has won the game for his side against Broncos last week when he threw a great inside ball, had it not been for the goal post stopping Scott Bolton on the way to the line. Croft was quiet against the Tigers but I expect him to have a big game this week against Thurston who is he bench mark for halves. 

Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona v Matthew Scott and Jordan McLean 

 Melbourne and North Queensland probably have the 2 best front row pairings. Melbourne with Bromwich and Asofa-Solomona and North Queensland with Matthew Scott and Jordan McLean will go head to head this week to see who comes out on top. It’ll be an interesting battle considering McLean is coming up against his former team mates for the first time. Will he get one up on his former team? 

Cameron Munster v Michael Morgan 

Like the halves going up against each other the five eighths are another intriguing match up. Both will probably be vying for the five eighth spot for the Queensland side and his will be a good chance for one of them to stake their claims early over their rival. There is no doubt his will also be a highlight especially as its Morgan’s first game back from injury. 

Prediction: 

Unlike the 2017 grand final this will be a very close match. Both sides are coming off the back of tough losses. I expect this to be a high quality game but I see the Storm winning this one. But look for Thurston to try a last ditch effort to get his team the win but fall short once again. Storm by 6 

-Nath

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