Match Preview - Preliminary Final
Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 26 September
Gates open: 4:45pm
A grand final place is on the line when Melbourne Storm collides with the Cowboys in their Preliminary Final showdown at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Storm enter the clash on the back of a week’s rest, having earned their place in the preliminary final courtesy of a hard fought 20-18 win over the Sydney Roosters in week one of the finals series.
Meanwhile, the Cowboys are also in good form, having disposed of the Cronulla Sharks with a comprehensive 39-0 shutout in their semi-final at 1300SMILES Stadium last Saturday.
With a plethora of big name players being listed for both sides, a blockbuster encounter is being anticipated in front of a big crowd under the bright lights at AAMI Park.
For the hosts, Tim Glasby has been named to slot into the prop position for Jordan McClean who started in the front row against the Roosters while the Cowboys have named an unchanged squad for the preliminary final with Ray Thompson added to a five-man interchange.
The last time the two sides faced, Storm prevailed in a closely contested game, edging the Cowboys 14-6 at home just over a month ago.
However, it is worth noting that influential Cowboys five eighth Michael Morgan missed the Round 25 match.
Storm’s defence will be a key contributor to their success on Saturday night, having conceded only eight tries in their last five games, including wins over the Roosters, Broncos and Cowboys.
Despite being the second highest scoring team during the home-and-away season, the Cowboys have been limited to just four tries against Melbourne this season.
Melbourne Storm: 1. Cameron Munster, 2. Marika Koroibete, 3. William Chambers, 4. Kurt Mann, 5. Matt Duffie, 6. Blake Green, 7. Cooper Cronk, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Tim Glasby, 11. Kevin Proctor, 12. Tohu Harris, 13. Ryan Hinchcliffe, 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Dale Finucane, 16. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 17. Jordan McClean, 18. Christian Welch, 19. Dayne Weston
North Queensland Cowboys: 1. Lachlan Coote, 2. Kyle Feldt, 3. Justin O’Neill, 4. Kane Linnett, 5. Antonio Winterstein, 6. Michael Morgan, 7. Johnathan Thurston (c), 8. Matthew Scott, 9. Jake Granville, 10. James Tamou, 11. Gavin Cooper, 12. Ethan Lowe, 13. Jason Taumalolo, 14. Rory Kostjasyn, 15. John Asiata, 16. Scott Bolton, 17. Ben Hannant.
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Ben Cummins
Sideline Officials: Steve Carrall, Nick Beashel
Video Referees: Bernard Sutton, Ben Galea
HEAD TO HEAD:
at AAMI Park
LAST TIME THEY MET:
Round 25, 2015
Melbourne Storm 14
Tries: Kenny Bromwich, Will Chambers
Goals: Cameron Smith 3/3
North Queensland Cowboys 6
Tries: Kyle Feldt
Goals: Johnathan Thurston 1/1
at AAMI Park.
The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club.