Saturday night final awaits
AAMI Park will host Storm’s Qualifying Final against North Queensland next Saturday night, kicking-off at 7:55pm.
Melbourne’s 20-point victory over Cronulla in Round 26 saw Craig Bellamy’s side secure first place on the NRL ladder setting up a showdown with 2015 Premiers, the Cowboys.
Following the completion of Round 26 on Sunday night, the NRL confirmed Melbourne’s Qualifying Final against North Queensland at AAMI Park for 7:55pm on Saturday 10 September.
The Saturday night Qualifying Final will mean Storm will once again take centre stage as the only show in town with no AFL in Melbourne. It comes off the back of the Club’s Round 26 crowd, which saw 24,135 pack into AAMI Park (the figure was Storm’s third biggest home and away crowd at the venue).
Storm and the Cowboys have met twice in 2016 with the men in purple triumphing on both occasions – ironically both of those meetings came in Queensland in Brisbane and Townsville. They last met in Melbourne in a Preliminary Final at AAMI Park last year with the Cowboys triumphing before going on to claim a memorable Grand Final victory in Sydney one week later.
NRL CEO Todd Greenberg said the opening weekend of the Finals Series offered some wonderful match-ups.
“We saw how close the regular season was – the make-up of the top eight came down to the final game and the minor premier was only confirmed in the final round,” Mr Greenberg said.
“This will be a wonderful way to kick off the Finals Series.”
Melbourne Storm CEO Dave Donaghy said he was excited about the prospect of a Storm-Cowboys match on a Saturday night in Melbourne.
"With clear air in Melbourne on Saturday we have been given a great opportunity to build our Club and code in our city, especially after what was a wonderful occasion last night,” Mr Donaghy said.
"We are more than comfortable with a Saturday night game and are looking forward to a big crowd at AAMI Park against the premiers."
1st Qualifying Final
Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday 10 September, 7:55pm