NRL Premiership 
- Round 21 
- North Queensland Cowboys V Melbourne Storm  
- 30 July 2016 
- 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville, Qld 
- Scott Davis

Round 23 - NRL Preview

The NRL’s best defence meets its best attack in a Monday night blockbuster at the nation’s capital.
Both teams will take a six-game winning streak into this game in a meeting that will have a big say in the make up of the top two.
The Raiders have put themselves well and truly in contention for their first top four finish since 2004 as they now prepare for a return to the finals after four years.
Storm managed to escape with the two points against the Rabbitohs last week, thanks largely to some golden point heroics from skipper Cameron Smith.
They know more than anyone that they will need to put in a much-improved performance against one of the form sides of the competition.
Craig Bellamy has named an unchanged line-up while the Raiders have named Blake Austin after the playmaker was cleared of cleared of serious damage to his shoulder.

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Broncos, Friday 26 August, 7:30pm.

Key Matchups:

Suliasi Vunivalu v Jordan Rapana
Vunivalu remains on top of the NRL’s try scoring tally with the rookie sensation sitting on 17 for the season. Rapana is well and truly closing the gap though after scoring two doubles in his last two games. He is the form outside back of the competition, leading the NRL for most line breaks (20) and tackle busts (105). Vunivalu is also an ever-present danger, both in the air and on the ground. Under lights on a Monday night, expect plenty of highlights from these two as they go head-to-head.

Cameron Smith v Josh Hodgson
Cameron Smith’s match-winning ability was on full show last Saturday night while Josh Hodgson showed once again that he is a key man behind the Raiders’ resurgence in 2016. Hodgson had two try assists as Canberra snapped the Sharks’ unbeaten run. Both hookers will steer their respective sides around the park and have a significant say in how this game will play out.

History: Played 36; Storm 26, Raiders 10. Melbourne have won the last two meetings but the last six have been split at three-apiece.
 

What we’ve said:

“They’ve got a really good forward back and some really dangerous backs. They are on a real run at the moment and played very well against the Sharks”  - Tim Glasby

“They can score a lot of points. If you switch off for one second they can make you pay. We’re going to have to do a lot better and be on our game to match what they’ve got” – Tohu Harris
 

What they’ve said:

"They're so consistent, the Storm. They're a high-quality side and we're going to have to be better than we were last week" – Jarrod Crocker

Match Officials: Referee - Matt Cecchin; Assistant - Chris Sutton; Touch Judges - Tim Roby & Phil Henderson; Review Officials - Luke Patten & Steve Chiddy; Senior Review Official - Bernard Sutton.
 

Broadcast: TV – Fox Sport 1 LIVE, Radio – Triple M & ABC Grandstand, Online – NRL Digital Pass.
 

Squads:

Melbourne Storm

Canberra Raiders

1. Cameron Munster

1. Jack Wighton

2. Suliasi Vunivalu

2. Brenko Lee

3. William Chambers

3. Jarrod Croker (c)

4. Cheyse Blair

4. Joey Leilua

5. Marika Koroibete

5. Jordan Rapana

6. Blake Green

6. Blake Austin

7. Cooper Cronk

7. Aidan Sezer

8. Jesse Bromwich

8. Junior Paulo

9. Cameron Smith ©

9. Josh Hodgson

10. Tim Glasby

10. Shannon Boyd

11. Kevin Proctor

11. Josh Papalii

12. Tohu Harris

12. Elliott Whitehead

13. Dale Finucane

13. Sia Soliola

 

 

Interchange

Interchange

14. Kenny Bromwich

14. Adam Clydsdale

15. Christian Welch

15. Luke Bateman

16. Felise Kaufusi

16. Clay Priest

17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

17. Joe Tapine