Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters
Saturday June 24 Adelaide Oval
Kick-off: 7.30pm (7pm local)
Head-to-Head: Storm 18, Roosters 14
Last meeting: Round 20, 2016 - Storm 26 def Roostes 10 at AAMI Park
Adelaide Oval history
Melbourne Storm are not foreign to the Adelaide Oval. The Club has played at the esteemed venue twice before against the Canterbury Bulldogs. They made their first trip in Round 18 of 2010, falling to the Bulldogs 20-18 in front of 10,023 fans. Both teams returned twelve months later and it was Storm who exacted revenge. Cooper Cronk scored a double in the return bout as Melbourne secured the 10-point win.
Origin stars to back up
A total of nine players will look to back up from Origin duty for this game. Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Will Chambers, Billy Slater and Tim Glasby are the Storm contingent that will have three days to recover before running out onto the Adelaide Oval. Dylan Napa will be teammates with them for Queensland before he re-joins the tri-colours along with NSW players Mitchell Pearce, Blake Ferguson and Boyd Cordner. Cordner and Smith were opposing captains for their state and will again be going head-to-head when they lead their Clubs outs on the weekend. It will be interesting to see who is able to back up once the final teams are named one hour before kick-off.
Teams in form
It probably comes as no surprise that this top of the table clash coincides with two teams in red-hot form. Storm are on a four game winning streak while the Roosters are have lost just one of their last five games. A win for Melbourne would mean they will sit three games clear inside the top two with nine games to go but is the Roosters get them, it once again throws the race wide open.
Luke Keary has been the boom recruit that has helped Sydney return to the top end of the NRL ladder this season. He has been a revelation since arriving from the Rabbitohs, ranking first in the NRL for line break assists (14) and equal second for try assists (11). The five-eighth is dynamic and provides their dangerous outside backs with plenty of opportunity to find the line.
Error prone Roosters
A surprising stat is that Sydney have committed the most errors in the NRL this season. In fact they have ranked either one or two in this stat every year from 2013 onwards, coincidentally the same season they won the premiership. Clearly their error count is not correlated to performance but Storm can control a game with possession and the more opportunity they get to attack the Roosters’ line, the better.