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The Melbourne Storm start their annual rivalry with the Sydney Roosters for 2021 this week, after winning both contests in 2020.

One of these benchmark teams has had a presence in the past five NRL grand finals, including the 2018 finale when they locked horns before 83,000 people who witnessed the Roosters win.

This Friday night at AAMI Park both sides are coming off solid round-five victories.

The last time they met in Melbourne, the Roosters snuck home via a Latrell Mitchell field goal (21-20) in round six, 2019. Mitchell is no longer around but neither the Roosters or the Storm have fired a field goal so far this year - and it may come down to that to decide the winner here.

Storm v Roosters

The rundown

Team news

Storm: Premiership-winning centre Brenko Lee successfully returned from a hamstring injury in the Queensland Cup last week and was named in the extended squad but will not make his comeback this week. Lee and Aaron Pene were cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Tui Kamikamica starts at lock with Nelson Asofa-Solomona to come off the bench.

Dean Ieremia dropped off the reserves list on game day, with Chris Lewis the 18th man.

Dale Finucane (calf) is still at least another week away.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen has scored 46 points in his past two games.

Roosters: Brett Morris has been ruled out with hamstring tightness, replaced on the wing by Matt Ikuvalu, while Fletcher Baker is the 18th man.

Hooker Ben Marschke was successful at the judiciary on Tuesday night in challenging a crusher tackle charge and is free to play.

He will slot in at No.9 to fill the void left by Freddy Lussick, who suffered a fractured arm in round five and could miss 6-8 weeks.

Prop Lindsay Collins is set to come back from the head knock and ankle injury he suffered in the loss to the Rabbitohs while utility Adam Keighran (dislocated wrist) has been named to return on the bench.

Jesse Marshcke and Daniel Suluka-Fifita were the first two players cut from the squad 24 hours before kick-off.

The Roosters have won only one of their past four games at AAMI Park.

Key match-up

Ryan Papenhuyzen v James Tedesco: With the NSW Origin team being named in five weeks, the fullback showdown between Tedesco and Papenhuyzen will have tongues wagging before and after this game. Tedesco has seven tries and five line breaks, Papenhuyzen also has seven tries while busting the line six times.

The Storm No.1 does have the added advantage of being a top-shelf goal kicker - he landed eight conversions against the Bulldogs last week and five against the Broncos the week before. 

Stat attack

The Roosters lead the NRL for tries with 30 with the Storm jumping into equal second place on 24 after their nine-try haul against the Bulldogs last week.

 

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