Round 10 Preview: Storm vs Titans

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Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans
Suncorp Stadium
Saturday, May 12th, 2018
5:30pm AEST, 7:30pm NZ
Team Lists

1 Billy Slater, 
2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 
3 Will Chambers, 
4 Curtis Scott, 
5 Josh Addo-Carr, 
6 Cameron Munster, 
7 Ryley Jacks, 
8 Christian Welch, 
9 Cameron Smith (c), 
10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 
11 Felise Kaufusi, 
12 Ryan Hoffman, 
13 Dale Finucane
14 Brandon Smith, 
15 Kenny Bromwich, 
16 Joe Stimson, 
17 Sam Kasiano
Reserves: 20 Patrick Kaufusi, 21 Justin Olam
1 Michael Gordon, 
2 Anthony Don, 
3 Dale Copley, 
4 Brenko Lee, 
5 Phillip Sami, 
6 AJ Brimson, 
7 Ashley Taylor, 
8 Max King, 
9 Mitch Rein, 
10 Ryan James (c), 
11 Kevin Proctor, 
12 Will Matthews, 
13 Jarrod Wallace
14 Bryce Cartwright, 
15 Keegan Hipgrave, 
16 Jack Stockwell, 
17 Moeaki Fotuaika
Reserves: 19 Konrad Hurrell, 20 Nathan Peats
Match Preview
The Melbourne Storm and the Gold Coast Titans meet for the first time in 2018 up in Brisbane for the first of a double header at Suncorp Stadium, with both teams looking to start their run up to Origin with a win. The Storm are taking a home game up to Brisbane, with a spot in the top 4 on the line if they can get up over the Gold Coast. The Titans on the other hand, are looking to move away from the bottom of the table and keep within touching distance of the top 8 if they can upset the Storm on Saturday.
Melbourne are back at basically full strength this week, with Curtis Scott good to go in his Origin audition as Justin Olam makes way.  Dale Finucane starts at lock with Kenny Bromwich reverting to the bench. Brodie Croft and Tui Kamikamica were omitted from the squad on Friday night. 
The Titans are making changes left, right and centre as they look to kick-start their season again. AJ Brimson comes in at five-eight to make his debut, with Bryce Cartwright going to the bench. Jai Arrow is out, so Jarrod Wallace moves to lock, Ryan James goes into the front row and Will Mathews returns in the back row. 
Match ups 
Fullback Battle
Billy Slater has been in red-hot form this year after having shoulder surgery which kept him out for most of last year. He has been lurking up the middle as well as looking out the back, with his form looking like he is 5 years younger. Michael Gordon has been the best back for the Titans in the 2018 season by a landslide, only beaten to the best player post by Jai Arrow. His combinations with Ash Taylor, as well as his goalkicking has kept the Titans in more games than they probably deserve to be in. Both are at the tail end of their careers, but they can split a game open in a moment. 
James vs NAS
At close to 2 metres tall and 110 kilograms, you would probably be crapping your pants at the thought of Nelson Asofa-Solomona barreling down at a million miles an hour. NAS has been one of the best players for Melbourne up front this season, with the likes of Bromwich, Kaufusi and the halves being able to make magic off of his runs. Ryan James is a stalwart, one of those who is always in contention to be in the NSW Blues. He will run hard, hit harder and put his body on the line for his team. This could be a battle of the big men which could shift the momentum of any match. 
Wild High Flyers
Josh Addo-Carr and Suliasi Vunivalu have been in prolific form this year, scoring tries out of nothing for fun. Anthony Don has been one of the more underrated winger this year in my opinion, being able to score as well as defend well in his edge. There is not much to write about here, however it would not surprise me to see all 3 mentioned here get a try. Fun fact, Vunivalu has 6 tries in his past 4 games at Suncorp. 
It is hard go past the Storm here, with a better line up and their origin players smashing it out at the right time. The Titans aren't expected to win here, which means that they honestly could pull out an upset. It's not happening though, with the Storm putting the Titans to the sword.
Storm 34-12


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