-       Competition - NRL Premiership
-       Round - Round 04
-       Teams – Cronulla Sharks v Melbourne Storm
-       Date – 28th of March 2016
-       Venue – Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla, Sydney NSW
-       Photographer – Anthony Johnson
-       Description – Cooper Cronk

NRL Preview - Round 26

Melbourne Storm v Cronulla Sharks
Saturday 3 September, 7.30pm
AAMI Park

Home and away games do not get any bigger than this.
After 25 weeks the 2016 Minor Premiership will be decided on the second last day of the season in front of a massive crowd at AAMI Park.
Storm will be looking for their fifth first-placed finish since 2006 while the Sharks are chasing their first piece of silverware since capturing the 1999 Minor Premiership.
Melbourne head into this game looking to atone for a disappointing performance against the Broncos last Friday night.
The Sharks were flying, winning 15 straight games during the season, before a four-game winless run saw them come back to the pack. Six answered tries however against the Roosters last week signaled their return to form.
Storm will be without young prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona who will serve a one-game suspension with Matt White and Christian Welch come into an 18-man squad.
Cronulla are unchanged from last week and will be chasing their first win in Melbourne since 2008.

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Sharks, Saturday 3 September, 7:30pm.

Milestone: Tohu Harris – 100 NRL games
 

Key Matchups:

Suliasi Vunivalu v Valentine Holmes
The best two wingers may be lining up on opposite sides of the field on Saturday night but their match-up will still be an intriguing one. The rising stars sit 1st and 2nd on the NRL’s try scoring list with Vunivalu holding a three-try lead over Holmes. Both players also rank in the top five of the NRL for line breaks and these two excitement machines are perfectly placed to show off their crowd-pleasing prowess on the big stage.

Cameron Munster v Ben Barba
What makes this fullback match up so important is that both players are X-factors for their respective sides. Both teams have star players across the park that can deliver exactly what you expect from them. Munster and Barba have the ability to throw plenty of surprises at the opposition line when they least expect it. Given how evenly placed the two sides are, it may take some individual brilliance from either fullback to break the game wide open.
 

History: Played 30; Storm 20, Sharks 10. Cronulla have lost their last seven games in Melbourne while Storm had won the past five meetings before the Sharks broke the run with a win in Round 4 earlier this year.
 

What we’ve said:

“They are a physical team, Fifita, Wade Graham and Paul Gallen are all tough players. They get up in your face and give you a little bit extra so I’m preparing for a tough one” - Jesse Bromwich

“It is a huge game for us and obviously playing for the minor premiership. Hopefully the boys will be up for that and we can get over the line” – Felise Kaufusi

“We hope we can get a big crowd there with heaps of people in purple” – Kenny Bromwich
 

What they’ve said:

“We need to still need to go down there where we might need to win to wrap up a home semi-final. We go into every game wanting to win so if there’s a trophy on offer we’ll take it if we get it but it’s not our main focus” – Shane Flanagan
 

Match Officials: Referee - Gerard Sutton; Assistant - Alan Shortall; Touch Judges - Brett Suttor & Chris Butler; Review Officials - Ashley Klein & Ben Galea; Senior Review Official - Bernard Sutton.
 

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

Squads:

Melbourne Storm

Cronulla Sharks

1. Cameron Munster

1. Ben Barba

2. Suliasi Vunivalu

2. Sosaia Feki

3. William Chambers

3. Jack Bird

4. Ryan Morgan

4. Gerard Beale

5. Marika Koroibete

5. Valentine Holmes

6. Blake Green

6. James Maloney

7. Cooper Cronk

7. Chad Townsend

8. Jesse Bromwich

8. Andrew Fifita

9. Cameron Smith ©

9. Michael Ennis

10. Tim Glasby

10. Matt Prior

11. Kenny Bromwich

11. Luke Lewis

12. Tohu Harris

12. Wade Graham

13. Dale Finucane

13. Paul Gallen

 

 

Interchange

Interchange

14. Felise Kaufusi

14. Joseph Paulo

15. Christian Welch

15. Chris Heighington

16. Jordan McLean

16. Jesse Sene-Lefao

17. Ben Hampton

17. Jayson Bukuya

21. Matt White