What you need to know – Round 15
Melbourne Storm v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday June 16 AAMI Park
Curtain Raiser: NYC Thunderbolts v Cowboys 3.10pm
Head-to-Head: Storm 23, Cowboys 10
A look to the future
With five players away on Origin duty Storm fans will be given a glimpse of the future on Saturday. Exciting youngsters Curtis Scott and Brodie Croft are in contention for a return to the NRL side while Slade Griffin and Brandon Smith showed they are more than capable of stepping up in the absence of Cameron Smith, with the pair helping steer Storm to their biggest win of the season against the Knights a fortnight ago. If you want to know what lies ahead beyond Smith, Cronk and Slater, head along to AAMI Park and enjoy the show.
History with Melbourne
Storm have won their last three games against the Cowboys and four of the last five. Those four wins though have all come by less than 10 points though, meaning contests between these two teams are always highly competitive.
Who are the Cowboys bringing?
The Cowboys will also be depleted due to Origin with Johnathan Thurston, Michael Morgan, Coen Hess and Gavin Cooper all joining their Storm counterparts in Maroons camp. They do have valuable experience to call upon with 100-game veteran Ray Thompson getting his NRL recall. He will be partnered in the halves by 21-year-old debutant and hard-nosed playmaker Kyle Laybutt.
This man will take some serious stopping. Taumalolo averages more metres per match than any other player in the competition. He also averages 51 tackle busts, the equal most of any prop. With some key playmakers missing from the Cowboys’ line up it will be left to Taumalolo to provide the steady hand up the middle. No doubt the powerful prop would have consumed much of Storm’s meetings during the week.
A cultural celebration
Round 15 is not just a game, it is an event. The Club has made this the multicultural game, celebrating all the cultures that make up our great city. It all kicks off from 1pm with a food truck festival out at Gosch’s Paddock. Then from 4.50pm an Olympics-style opening ceremony will take place featuring performances from nine different cultural groups. No city has more culture than Melbourne so why not dedicate a Storm home game to celebrating that!