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Melbourne had a surprise loss to the impressive Panthers last week but the Warriors are in a big hole, making the shock decision to sack coach Stephen Kearney despite winning two of four games since the NRL's resumption.

The move is a huge blow to a players already dealing with significant adversity and coming off an injury-hit loss to Souths in which almost nothing went right.

It's still smooth sailing at the 4-2 Storm, with both their losses coming against teams who had to play exceptionally well to beat them, though they may face further disruption if their home game has to be moved due to the recent COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria.

The rundown

Team news

Storm: Brenko Lee is out, with Paul Momirovski (No.21) to take his place in the centres. Lee and Nicho Hynes were the two players dropped from the squad 24 hours out from game time. Melbourne are boosted by the return of Josh Addo-Carr and Jahrome Hughes to the starting side, with Marion Seve and Ryley Jacks making way. Jacks and Max King were the last two players omitted an hour before kick-off. The Storm have won their past eight games against the Warriors.

Warriors: Several late changes to Todd Payten's side with Adam Blair moving from lock to prop and Jamayne Taunoa-Brown going to the bench. Isaiah Papali'i will start the game in the second row and Tohu Harris moves to lock. In the backline, Patrick Herbert moves to the wing and Gerard Beale to centre. Adam Pompey and Leivaha Pulu dropped out an hour before kick-off.

David Fusitu'a and Lachlan Burr are both out of the Warriors team, with Beale and Poasa Faamausili their replacements. Both Fusitu'a and Burr were in concussion protocol in the lead up to the match.  

Payten indicated Chanel Harris-Tavita would rotate with Karl Lawton at hooker, while Ken Maumalo is set to play after overcoming a hamstring strain. The Warriors have not won at Kogarah since 2003.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
    Fullback for Warriors is number 1 Roger Tuivasa-Sheck
  • Winger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi Vunivalu
    Winger for Warriors is number 4 Patrick Herbert
  • Centre for Storm is number 3 Justin Olam
    Centre for Warriors is number 3 Peta Hiku
  • Centre for Storm is number 21 Paul Momirovski
    Centre for Warriors is number 18 Gerard Beale
  • Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
    Winger for Warriors is number 5 Ken Maumalo
  • Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
    Five-Eighth for Warriors is number 6 Kodi Nikorima
  • Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
    Halfback for Warriors is number 7 Blake Green

Forwards

  • Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
    Prop for Warriors is number 13 Adam Blair
  • Hooker for Storm is number 9 Cameron Smith
    Hooker for Warriors is number 9 Karl Lawton
  • Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
    Prop for Warriors is number 15 Poasa Faamausili
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 11 Jack Murchie
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
    2nd Row for Warriors is number 17 Isaiah Papali'i
  • Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane
    Lock for Warriors is number 12 Tohu Harris

Interchange

  • Interchange for Storm is number 14 Brandon Smith
    Interchange for Warriors is number 8 Jamayne Taunoa-Brown
  • Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tino Faasuamaleaui
    Interchange for Warriors is number 14 Chanel Harris-Tavita
  • Interchange for Storm is number 16 Tom Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Warriors is number 16 Agnatius Paasi
  • Interchange for Storm is number 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
    Interchange for Warriors is number 21 Josh Curran

Key match-up

Cameron Munster v Kodi Nikorima. Munster has developed into an elite five-eighth and has been arguably the Storm's best player in 2020, adding another two try assists against Penrith.

Nikorima has forced his way back into the Warriors starting line-up and has been at the centre of everything the Warriors have done well in their two wins over the past month with his running game coming to the fore.