Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos
Thursday, March 16, 8.05pm (Melb time)
Head-to-Head: Storm 26, Broncos 13, Drawn 1
Last time we met: Round 25, 2016; Storm 16 def by Broncos 26 at AAMI Park
If you don’t know this by now where have you been hiding? On Thursday night the one and only Billy Slater will pull on the purple jersey again for the first time in 374 days. The 33-year-old has been named at fullback for his 279th game for the Club. You get goosebumps just thinking about the roar the purple army will make when Slater runs out behind skipper Cameron Smith tonight – officially making his much-awaited comeback.
2. Bromwich a chance
Jesse Bromwich missed just his second game since 2011 when he could not make the trip to New Zealand last week due to a thumb injury. Amidst the hype of Slater’s inclusion on Tuesday, the selection of Bromwich down at No.21 slipped past relatively under the radar. The superstar prop was last night named in the 19-man squad and while he is no certainty to play, will be given every chance to prove his fitness up until the final hour.
Storm have played the Broncos more than any other team in the NRL. Thursday night will make the 41st meeting between these two storied Clubs and each have shared their moments of success against the other. Melbourne have won 10 of the last 12 meetings but Brisbane have returned home victorious from their previous two trips to Melbourne. In Round 17 last year, Storm produced a record-breaking 48-6 win at Suncorp Stadium before the Broncos returned serve at AAMI Park to take the points eight weeks later. Both sides have their reasons to be confident, it remains which wide history falls on tonight.
4. As tactical as it gets
Wayne Bennett v Craig Bellamy. Coaching match-ups do not get any more legendary than this. The pair have coached 1,105 games between them and on Thursday night they will go head-to-head to try and outdo one another. For rugby league purists, tactical battles will not get anything better than this so sit back and enjoy.