North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm
Saturday 31 May, 7:30pm
Melbourne Storm will come up against the 11th placed North Queensland Cowboys at 1300SMILES Stadium on Saturday night in Round 12.
Both sides have been in impressive form in recent weeks and have named their State of Origin representatives to play in the expectedly tough clash on Saturday night. Storm is coming off a 14-point victory against South Sydney in Round 10, whilst the Cowboys lost to the Raiders after stringing together a three-game winning streak.
For Storm, the clash with the Rabbitohs was a tough encounter and provided the Melbourne fans with yet another emphatic performance from fullback Billy Slater and halfback Cooper Cronk.
It was a different story for the Cowboys against the Raiders, where Paul Green’s men went down 42-12 after being outplayed by an impressive Canberra outfit. Unfortunately for Green, he was without star players Johnathan Thurston, Matt Scott, James Tamou and Brent Tate after they missed the trip due Origin duty.
The last time these two teams met was Round 2, 2013 where Melbourne recorded a 22-point win in Queensland. History suggests Storm have the upper hand in this battle with Melbourne winning 19 of the 26 games played between the two.
In another huge week for Storm, the Club re-signed two key players in Kevin Proctor and Young Tonumaipea. Proctor will remain with the club for a further four years and Tonumaipea has recommitted for another two seasons.
Craig Bellamy has named an 18-man squad to take on the North Queensland with playmaker Ben Roberts returning to the starting 17 replacing Joel Romelo who suffered an ankle injury in his Storm debut against the Rabbitohs. Mitch Garbutt joins an extended interchange bench, rewarded for his strong performances with Easts Tigers in the Queensland Cup.
Cowboys' Coach Paul Green has also named a 18-man squad, including his four Origin stars, which mean Ricky Thorby and Curtis Rona drop out of the squad that played against Canberra. Tariq Sims will miss two matches through suspension.
HEAD TO HEAD:
North Queensland: 7
LAST TIME THEY MET:
Round 2, 2013 – Melbourne Storm 32 (Will Chambers 2, Cooper Cronk 2, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hoffman; Goals: Cameron Smith 3, Gareth Widdop) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 10 (Ashley Graham, Kane Linnett; Goals: Johnathon Thurston)
LAST 5 MATCHES:
Round 2, 2013 – Melbourne Storm 32 (Will Chambers 2, Cooper Cronk 2, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hoffman; Goals: Cameron Smith 3, Gareth Widdop) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 10 (Ashley Graham, Kane Linnett; Goals: Jonathon Thurston)
Round 19, 2012 - North Queensland Cowboys 20 (Kane Linnett 2, Brent Tate; Goals: Johnathon Thurston 4) defeated Melbourne Storm 16 (Matt Duffie, Anthony Quinn, Gareth Widdop; Goals: Cameron Smith 2)
Round 6, 2012 – Melbourne Storm 42 (Will Chambers 2, Matt Duffie 2, Kevin Proctor 2, Ryan Hinchcliffe, Jason Ryles; Goals: Cameron Smith 5) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 18 (Matt Bowen, Gavin Cooper, James Tamou; Goals: Johnathon Thurston 3)
Round 3, 2011 - North Queensland Cowboys 34 (Matt Bowen 2, Ashley Graham 2, Tariq Sims, Will Tupou; Goals: Johnathan Thurston 5) defeated Melbourne Storm 6 (Gareth Widdop; Goals: Billy Slater 1)
Round 15, 2010 – Melbourne Storm 58 (Justin O’Neill 3, Matt Duffie 2, Billy Slater 2, Cooper Cronk, Greg Inglis, Jeff Lima; Goals: Cameron Smith 5, Greg Inglis 3, Brett Finch 1) defeated North Queensland Cowboys 12 (Shannon Gallant, James Tamou; Goals: Johnathan Thurston 2)