Photo by Colin Whelan copyright © nrlphotos.com :        NRL Rugby League, Telstra Cup Round 4 Sydney Bulldogs v Melbourne Storm at Perth, Saturday March 29th  2014.

Complete Guide - Round 18

Melbourne Storm v Canterbury-Bankstown Bulldogs
Saturday 12 July, 7:30pm
AAMI Park

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TV: Fox Sports – live from 7:30pm
Online: NRL Digital Pass
Radio: 2GB, ABC Grandstand

Melbourne Storm take on the third-placed Canterbury Bulldogs on Saturday night at AAMI Park in what promises to be a tight contest with plenty at stake.

Both sides will be keen to consolidate their position inside the top eight with a number of clubs separated by just points difference in a tight top end of the NRL table. 

Historically, contests between the two clubs have been fiercely contested. Canterbury is the only side in the competition that boasts a winning head-to-head record over Melbourne, holding a 17-16 ledger. Storm will be looking to square up the record having succumbed to a 28-point loss earlier in the year in Round 4.

Be there at AAMI Park in Round 18 when Storm take on the Bulldogs.

With Melbourne Storm having the bye last weekend, coach Craig Bellamy had the opportunity to rest a majority of his players while others joined their feeder clubs to maintain form and fitness heading into the final nine weeks of the season.

In Round 17, the Bulldogs toppled league leaders Manly by seven points thanks to an impressive display, confirming Des Hasler's side's premiership credentials. 

Saturday night's clash as it stands will feature the return of Queensland and New South Wales Origin stars to their respective starting sides. Storm have included skipper Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Will Chambers from the Queensland team while Ryan Hoffman has also been added from New South Wales.

Earlier in the week, Bellamy also did not rule out Cooper Cronk’s chances of playing on Saturday however was aware of the difficulty facing the halfback who would be required to bounce back just four days after Origin, having missed six weeks with an arm injury.

The Bulldogs have included two Origin representatives in Trent Hodkinson and Josh Morris for the trip to Melbourne. Five-eighth Josh Reynolds will not play after electing to take an early guilty plea after being cited for a shoulder charge on Chambers in Origin 3. 

The squad will also be without Aiden Tolman who re-injured his hamstring. Sam Kasiano will take his place, returning to the line-up. Damien Cook, Drury Low and Pat O’Hanlon have been named on an extended bench as cover for the Origin representatives.

MATCH OFFICIALS:

Referee – Gerard Sutton, Grant Atkins

Sideline Officials – Steve Carrall, Michael Wise

Video Referees – Steve Chiddy, Ben Galea.

HEAD TO HEAD:

Played: 34

Melbourne: 16

Canterbury: 17

Draw: 1

LAST TIME THEY MET:

Round 4, 2014 – Canterbury Bulldogs 40 (James Graham, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson, David Klemmer, Timoteo Lafai, Josh Morris, Chase Stanley; Goals: Trent Hodkinson 6) defeated Melbourne Storm 12 (Will Chambers, Billy Slater; Goals: Tohu Harris 2)

LAST 5 MATCHES:

Round 4, 2014 – Canterbury Bulldogs 40 (James Graham, Trent Hodkinson, Josh Jackson, David Klemmer, Timoteo Lafai, Josh Morris, Chase Stanley; Goals: Trent Hodkinson 6) defeated Melbourne Storm 12 (Will Chambers, Billy Slater; Goals: Tohu Harris 2)

Round 18, 2013 - Canterbury Bulldogs 39 (Sam Perrett 3, Mitch Brown 2, Ben Barba, Timoteo Lafai, Tony Williams; Goals: Trent Hodkinson 3) defeated Melbourne Storm 0

Grand Final, 2012 – Melbourne Storm 14 (Ryan Hoffman, Justin O’Neill, Billy Slater; Goals: Cameron Smith 1) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 4 (Sam Perrett)

Round 16, 2012 - Canterbury Bulldogs 20 (Krisnan Inu 2, Ben Barba, Josh Morris; Goals: Krisnan Inu 2) defeated Melbourne Storm 4 (Anthony Quinn)

Round 7, 2012 – Melbourne Storm 12 (Ryan Hinchcliffe, Ryan Hoffman; Goals: Cameron Smith 2) defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 6 (Greg Eastwood; Goals: Steve Turner)