Tohu Harris:	NRL, Rugby League, Round 07, ANZAC Day, Melbourne Storm v New Zealand Warriors @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Thursday April 25th, 2013. Digital Image by Brett Crockford © nrlphotos.com

Round 8 - Complete Guide

Round 8
Melbourne Storm v Warriors
Friday 25 April, 6pm at AAMI Park

NRL: 6pm; NYC: 3:05pm; Gates open: 3:00pm

BROADCAST:

TV: Fox Sports 1, LIVE from 6pm

Online: NRL Digital Pass

Radio: TBC

Melbourne Storm will face off against the Warriors on ANZAC Day for the sixth time this Friday night at AAMI Park.

Coming off the back of a heart breaking loss to the Raiders last Sunday, Melbourne will be hoping to return to the winner's list and keep in touch with the NRL's top four on a congested league table. Also entering Round 8 following a loss, the Warriors will be keen to kick start their season after three straight defeats over the past three weeks.

Fan up with Melbourne Storm this ANZAC Day, book your tickets today.

After featuring in Melbourne's last two matches, Ben Roberts will miss Storm's ANZAC Day clash with the Warriors due to a knee injury. As a result, young playmaker Ben Hampton returns to the side, slotting into the number six jersey alongside halfback Cooper Cronk. Mitch Garbutt and Tim Glasby also come into Craig Bellamy's line-up, making up a six-man extended interchange bench.

VIEW MELBOURNE'S ROUND 8 TEAM TO TAKE ON THE WARRIORS AS SELECTED BY CRAIG BELLAMY.

The Warriors have made three changes to their side for Round 8 with McFadden naming Chad Townsend, Jayson Bukuya and Feleti Mateo to return. Former Storm centre Dane Nielsen has been selected in the number three jersey to face his old club for the second time.

As it has been for the early part of the 2014 season, defence will be a large focus for Storm on Friday night. Despite being ranked statistically as the competition's third best attacking team, some untimely lapses in concentration has seen Melbourne uncharacteristically concede the second most amount of points in the league.

Caretaker coach Andrew McFadden will be hoping he can bring some continuity to the 15th placed Warriors who have used more players than any other club so far in 2014. Already, the Auckland based outfit have played 27 different players over the opening seven rounds of competition after using 28 for the entire 2013 season.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referees – Ashley Klein and Adam Gee

Sideline Officials – Jason Walsh and Chris Sutton

Video Referees – Jared Maxwell and Andrew Dunemann

HEAD TO HEAD:

Played: 33

Melbourne:  17

Warriors: 14

Draw: 2

PLAYER MATCH-UP:

Cooper Cronk v Shaun Johnson

Storm halfback Cooper Cronk has enjoyed an impressive start to the 2014 season, once again playing an integral role in Melbourne's attack. Despite missing his side's season opener against Manly in Round 1, Cronk still leads the NRL for try assists with 10 for the season. His battle with opposing number seven Shaun Johnson on Friday night will be an intriguing one. The flying Warriors halfback is a constant threat to opposition defences no matter what position his side are in on the field. Despite only recording three try assists and scoring one try for the season, the Melbourne defence will need to be on high alert when the New Zealand international is in possession. 

LAST TIME THEY MET:

Round 20, 2013 - Warriors 30 (Tries: Ngani Laumape 2, Konrad Hurrell, Thomas Leuluai, Kevin Locke; Goals: Shaun Johnson 5) defeated Melbourne Storm 22 (Tries: Maurice Blair, Cooper Cronk, Justin O'Neill, Billy Slater; Goals: Cameron Smith 3)

LAST FIVE MATCHES:

Round 20, 2013 - Warriors 30 (Tries: Ngani Laumape 2, Konrad Hurrell, Thomas Leuluai, Kevin Locke; Goals: Shaun Johnson 5) defeated Melbourne Storm 22 (Tries: Maurice Blair, Cooper Cronk, Justin O'Neill, Billy Slater; Goals: Cameron Smith 3)

Round 7, 2013 - Melbourne Storm 28 (Tries: Will Chambers 2, Mahe Fonua, Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa; Goals: Cameron Smith 4) defeated Warriors 18 (Tries: Ben Henry, Shaun Johnson, Bill Tupou; Goals: Shaun Johnson 3)

Round 13, 2012 - Warriors 12 (Tries: Konrad Hurrell, Manu Vatuvei; Goals: James Maloney 2) defeated by Melbourne Storm 22 (Tries: Will Chambers, Jaiman Lowe, Cameron Smith, Gareth Widdop; Goals: Cameron Smith 3)

Round 8, 2012 - Melbourne Storm 32 (Tries: Will Chambers 3, Dane Nielsen 2, Justin O'Neill; Goals: Cameron Smith 4) defeated Warriors 14 (Tries: Bill Tupou 2, Lewis Brown; Goals: James Maloney 1)

Preliminary Final, 2011 - Melbourne Storm 12 (Tries: Beau Champion, Sika Manu; Goals: Cameron Smith 2) defeated by Warriors 20 (Tries: Lewis Brown, James Maloney, Bill Tupou; Goals: James Maloney 4)