NRL Premiership 
- Round 17 
- Brisbane Broncos V Melbourne Storm 
- 01 July 2016 
- Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane, Qld 
- Scott Davis

NRL Preview: Storm v Broncos

Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos
Friday August 26, 7.50pm
AAMI Park

Friday night footy returns to AAMI Park for the first time in 2016 with arch-rivals Brisbane coming to town.
Melbourne are just one win away from securing the minor premiership and have already locked up a top-two finish courtesy of last week’s win over Manly.
Craig Bellamy’s men will face a Broncos side that looked gone for all money only a month ago after losing four of five games during a troublesome Origin period. However they now make the trip south full of confidence after winning three in a row.
Storm took the points in emphatic fashion when these two teams met up at Suncorp back in Round 17, beating Brisbane 48-6.
This game will be Storm’s third in just 11 days while the Broncos have had eight days to recover from last week’s win over the Bulldogs.
It will also be Sam Thaiday’s 250th and Matt Gillett’s 150th, giving the visitors an added incentive to perform well.

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

Key Matchups:

Suliasi Vunivalu v Corey Oates
Two of the NRL’s best young wingers will be the focal point of their sides’ attack on Friday night. Oates has 20 line breaks for the season, equal most in the NRL and has found his way over the try line on 15 occasions. Vunivalu leads this stat with 21 for the season, four more tries than any other player in the competition. The exciting Fijian also scored a hat-trick last time out against the Broncos. In that game, Brisbane lost Oates to concussion early on which proved to be a critical blow to their attack.

Cooper Cronk v Ben Hunt
Cronk took his try assist tally to 21 for the season with another four against the Sea Eagles last weekend. That leaves him ranked equal first in the NRL alongside Johnathan Thurston. Hunt sits in third with 19 and presents an ever-present attack to the opposition line. There is no doubt Cronk has been a focus of the Broncos planning this week after putting five try assists past them in their last meeting.
 

History: Played 39: Storm 26, Broncos 12, Draw 1. Melbourne have won 10 of their last 11 games against Brisbane.
 

What we’ve said:

“(The Broncos) have come good at the right end of the season so it is going to be a tough match on Friday night, we are going to need to play a full 80 minutes” – Tohu Harris

“I am not sure what our performance staff or coaching staff are thinking in terms of the next couple of weeks but it is pretty important that we get some continuity in our performances” – Cooper Cronk

“We are not looking too far ahead, we’ve got a long way to go. We know we’ve got top two at the moment but that doesn’t mean anything. Anything can happen in the finals but we are just worried about the Broncos this week” – Cameron Munster

“We’ve been working very hard during the week... It has been really good to get a few tries but it is not just me, the boys as well, if not for their passes I wouldn’t be scoring those tries” – Suliasi Vunivalu
 

What they’ve said:

“The Storm have proven this whole year that they are number one,  so for us to go down there and perform well it’s going to be a big task” – Matt Gillett

“I’d rather have momentum than be in the Top Four. If you’re in the Top Four and not playing well, it’s a big issue for you” – Wayne Bennett

“It is fantastic to celebrate 250 games down in Melbourne against the Storm, so hopefully we can make it sweeter with a victory” – Sam Thaiday
 

Match Officials: Referee - Ashley Klein; Assistant - Gavin Badger; Touch Judges - Chris Butler & Brett Suttor; Review Officials - Luke Patten & Steve Chiddy; Senior Review Official - Bernard Sutton.

Broadcast: TV - Channel GEM LIVE from 7:30pm, Fox Sports 1 LIVE from 7.50pm, Radio - ABC Grandstand, 2GB & Triple M, Online – NRL Digital Pass.
 

Squads:

Melbourne Storm

Brisbane Broncos

1. Cameron Munster

1. Darius Boyd

2. Suliasi Vunivalu

2. Corey Oates

3. William Chambers

3. Tom Opacic

4. Ryan Morgan

4. James Roberts

5. Marika Koroibete

5. Jordan Kahu

6. Blake Green

6. Anthony Milford

7. Cooper Cronk

7. Ben Hunt

8. Jesse Bromwich

8. Josh McGuire

9. Cameron Smith ©

9. Andrew McCullough

10. Tim Glasby

10. Adam Blair

11. Kenny Bromwich

11. Sam Thaiday

12. Tohu Harris

12. Matt Gillett

13. Dale Finucane

13. Corey Parker (c)

 

 

Interchange

 

14. Felise Kaufusi

14. Jarrod Wallace

15. Christian Welch

15. Tevita Pangai Jnr

16. Nelson Asofa Solomona

16. Jai Arrow

17. Ben Hampton

17. Alex Glenn

 

 

Coach: Craig Bellamy

Coach: Wayne Bennett