Competition - NRL Premiership
Round - Round 02
Teams – Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans
Date –    13th of March 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday May 14, 5.30pm
Suncorp Stadium

Two of the competition’s ladder leaders will clash at a sold-out Suncorp Stadium on Saturday in a re-match of last year’s preliminary final.
Storm are currently the best defensive team in the NRL while the Cowboys boast the No.1 ranked attack.
Both teams had a combined 25 players take part in last week’s Representative Round, making for star-studded matchups all over the park.
The Cowboys have been a picture of consistency, fielding just 19 players so far this season compared to Storm’s 23.
Each side will take a hot form line into the clash. North Queensland has won its past five games while Storm have not conceded a single point in their last two outings.
Fasten your seatbelts, this showpiece blockbuster is set to see rugby league played at its very best.  

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Panthers, Saturday 4 June, 7:30pm.

Key Matchups:

Cooper Cronk v Johnathan Thurston
The Maroons halves pairing will add another chapter to their club rivalry on Saturday night. You can guarantee not much will happen without these two having a say in it. Thurston is the number one ranked player in the competition for try and line breaks assists. He showed his playmaking ability at AAMI Park at the end of last year, setting up three Cowboys tries to book a grand final berth. Cronk has also been at his best and is currently Storm’s leading try scorer this season. His six tries in the opening nine games is already one more than he managed all of last season. This is a matchup to sit back and enjoy the creative genius of these two champions.

Jesse Bromwich v Matt Scott
Storm and the Cowboys rank in the top three teams for total metres and these two men are a big reason for that. Bromwich is 10th in the NRL for metres gained and number one for offloads while Scott has more offloads than any other Cowboy. Scott was arguably best afield in last year’s preliminary final with 202 metres. Whichever big man can get the upper hand and give his playmakers around him the chance to shine, that will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this game.

History: Played: 30; Storm 20, Cowboys 10. Melbourne won eight in a row between 2006-2010 but recent history has seen North Queensland win five of the past eight games between these two teams.

What we’ve said:

“(Lachlan Coote) has been playing really well, he’s one of the best, in-form fullbacks at the moment” – Cameron Munster 

“They are playing as well as they were last year when they won the competition. They havn’t had too many injuries with their team either, they’ve been very stable with their 17 each week” – Craig Bellamy

“It is going to be hard to pick out some weaknesses that we are going to try and target but I’m sure Craig will find something” – Ben Hampton
 

What they’ve said:

“This is an important period, leading into the Origin period” – Paul Green

“We've played as a team, which is what I want to see. It shows to me that they value the team, while all of that stuff is going on." – Paul Green
 

Match Officials: Referee – Gerard Sutton; Assistant – Adam Devich; Touch Judges – Michael Wise & Rohan Best; Review Officials – Ben Galea & Jason Robinson; Senior Review Official – Bernard Sutton.

Broadcast: TV – Fox Sports 1, Radio – ABC Grand Stand & 2GB, Online – NRL Digital Pass.

Squads:

Melbourne Storm

North Queensland

1.   Cameron Munster

1. Lachlan Coote

2.   Suliasi Vunivalu

2. Kyle Feldt

3.   Tohu Harris

3. Justin O’Neill

4.   Ben Hampton

4. Kane Linnett

5.   Cheyse Blair

5. Antonio Winterstein

6.   Blake Green

6. Michael Morgan

7.   Cooper Cronk

7. Johnathan Thurston (c)

8.   Jesse Bromwich

8. Matt Scott (c)

9.   Cameron Smith ©

9. Jake Granville

10. Jordan McLean

10. James Tamou

11. Kevin Proctor

11. Gavin Cooper

12. Felise Kaufusi

12. Ethan Lowe

13. Dale Finucane

13. Jason Taumalolo

 

 

Interchange

Interchange

14. Kenny Bromwich

14. Rory Kostjasyn

15. Tim Glasby

15. Patrick Kaufusi

16. Christian Welch

16. Scott Bolton

17. Nelson Asofa- Solomona

17. Ben Hannant