What you need to know - Round 19
The stars have aligned
For the first time this season Melbourne Storm could field a full strength line up. The Origin stars are back and should Dale Fincuane be declared fit, the Storm pack will be just about at full strength. Not once this season have Melbourne been able to name a consistent side from one week to the next as a mixture of injuries and representative duty have meant the team has been without its full complement of talent all year. This week however could be the first game that has been the case and it makes for perfect time heading into the back end of the season.
Warriors like no other
In their second year under Stephen Kearney New Zealand are beginning to show the defensive resilience that the pundits have been quick to criticise them on over the years. The Kiwis have conceded 324 points so far this year - according to NRL stats going back to 2013 that is the fewest points they have allowed after the first 17 games of a season. That ANZAC Day blowout, in which Melbourne put 50 points on them, was somewhat of an anomaly. Just once in the last five games have they allowed more than 20 points and unsurprisingly they are as well placed as they have been in a while of a finals berth as a result.
Storm players would be closing in on eligibility for duel Australian-New Zealand citizenship by the end of this week. This will be the third time Melbourne has ventured across the ditch in 2018. Back in February they played a trial match against the Warriors in Rotura and then in Round 5 took place in the Auckland Double Header against Wests Tigers. So far both trips have resulted in two defeats so the men in purple will be hoping to make it third time lucky.
Michael Moore Trophy
It is a long standing and respected tradition between these two teams that whenever they meet they play for the Michael Moore trophy. It is a tribute to the inaugural Melbourne Storm football manager who tragically passed away in 2000 following the Club's season opening game in Auckland. Every Storm-Warriors meeting since has been played in his honour. Melbourne are the current holders of the trophy following their 50-10 win on ANZAC Day earlier in the year.