Canterbury Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm
Saturday 29 March, 4:30pm (local); 7:30pm (Melbourne)
Nib Stadium, Perth
Broadcast: Fox Sports 1, Live from 7:30pm, NRL Digital Pass
Melbourne and Canterbury travel to Western Australia in Round 4, locking horns at Nib Stadium, Perth on Saturday evening.
After beginning the season with two thrilling one point victories in Round 1 and 2, Storm earned a hard fought win over Newcastle in Round 3 at AAMI Park. Melbourne held off a determined Knights side to keep their unblemished record in 2014 intact with a 28-20 win.
Canterbury enter Round 4 sitting ninth on the NRL table following narrow losses to Brisbane and Penrith in Rounds 1 and 3. Their only win of the season to date came against Cronulla where Des Hasler's side put on a clinical performance on Monday Night Football, defeating the Sharks 42-4.
Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett is one player Craig Bellamy's side will have to watch out for on Saturday. The versatile back has a brilliant recent record against Melbourne, proving to be devastating in attack. Perrett has scored in the last three meetings between the two sides, including a hat-trick in the Bulldogs' victory in Round 18, 2013.
However, despite Canterbury's obvious strength in attack, it will be the Bulldogs' defence that Storm will need to find a way through in Perth. After the opening three rounds of the NRL season, Canterbury hold the best defensive record out of every team in the competition, only conceding 40 points.
Improving their performance and execution in attack every week, Melbourne will be hoping to continue the trend in Round 4. After positive starts to the season, young outside backs Mahe Fonua and Young Tonumaipea will continue to find their feet at first-grade level. Last week, Tonumaipea excited a vocal Melbourne crowd, scoring his maiden NRL try.
The two young Victorians will line-up alongside ever reliable outside backs Sisa Waqa and Will Chambers who have also both enjoyed solid openings to 2014, scoring five tries between them.
Be there in Round 5 when Melbourne take on the Titans at AAMI Park, Sunday 6 April. Buy your tickets here.
Cooper Cronk, in his second game of the season last weekend was awarded man of the match honours for a typically diligent performance at halfback. The number seven will be at the forefront once again on Saturday, looking to spearhead his side's attack alongside Cameron Smith.
Storm have been to Perth on three occasions in the past and have enjoyed some success. Two clashes against South Sydney in 2009 and 2010 at Nib Stadium saw Craig Bellamy's side take a win and a loss back to Melbourne. Prior to those trips, Melbourne travelled to Western Australia in the club's premiership year of 1999, defeating Western Suburbs Magpies 62-6 at Lathlain Oval. The victory is Storm's fifth biggest win and Matt Geyer's 34 points is still a club record for most points in a match.
Referees - Ashley Klein and Adam Gee
Sideline Officials - Nick Beashel and Matt Noyen
Video Referees - Luke Phillips and Andrew Dunemann
HEAD TO HEAD:
LAST TIME THEY MET:
Round 18, 2013 – Canterbury Bulldogs 39 (Sam Perrett 3, Mitch Brown 2, Ben Barba, Timoteo Lafai, Tony Williams) defeated Melbourne Storm 0 at ANZ Stadium.
LAST 5 MATCHES:
Round 18, 2013 - Canterbury Bulldogs 39 (Sam Perrett 3, Mitch Brown 2, Ben Barba, Timoteo Lafai, Tony Williams) defeated Melbourne Storm 0 at ANZ Stadium.
Round 3, 2013 - Melbourne Storm 22 (Matt Duffie, Mahe Fonua, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Lagi Setu) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 18 (Krisnan Inu, Kris Keating, Sam Perrett) at AAMI Park.
2012 Grand Final - Canterbury Bulldogs 4 (Sam Perrett) defeated by Melbourne Storm 14 (Ryan Hoffman, Justin O'Neill, Billy Slater) at ANZ Stadium.
Round 16, 2012 - Canterbury Bulldogs 20 (Krisnan Inu 2, Ben Barba, Josh Morris) defeated Melbourne Storm 4 (Anthony Quinn) at Mackay Stadium.
Round 7, 2012 - Melbourne Storm 12 (Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hoffman) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6 (Greg Eastwood)