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Cowboys v Storm: Hammer out; Papenhuyzen on bench

The Melbourne juggernaut rolled on with a 14th win on the trot as they put paid to Newcastle at the Gold Coast.

In stark contrast, the Cowboys slumped to a fifth straight loss as they surrendered an early 12-0 lead before going down 34-18 to the Roosters.

Despite the fact they sit just one win outside the eight the Cowboys have a vastly inferior points differential to the other sides in the logjam from seventh to 12th, having conceded a tick under 40 points per game in their past five outings.

Even in the absence of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Christian Welch, Harry Grant and Nelson Asofa-Solomona the Storm still ran eight tries past the Knights and in the process posted 40 points or more for the 11th time this season. 

The rundown

Team news

Cowboys: In the final team list released an hour before kick-off, regular hooker Jake Granville was announced in the fullback role with Scott Drinkwater reverting to five-eighth.

Daejarn Asi moves back to the interchange, with Lachlan Burr the 18th man.

Fullback Hamiso Tabuai-Fidow may have played his last game of the season after undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Wednesday. He faces up to six weeks on the sidelines.

Coen Hess has passed concussion protocols and start on the bench.

Murray Taulagi replaces Javid Bowen (knee) in the centres with Kane Bradley makes his NRL debut on the wing.

Rookie back-rower Heilum Luki is back from a one-match suspension, joining the bench at the expense of Peter Hola.

Tabuai-Fidow and Hola were omitted from the extended squad 24 hours before kick-off.

Cowboys winger Kyle Feldt requires one try for his century of NRL tries.

Storm: Ryan Papenhuyzen will return via the interchange bench with Nicho Hynes to start at fullback.

In changes announced an hour before kick-off, Trent Loeiro moves into the second row with Chris Lewis dropping back to the bench. Jordan Grant is the 18th man.

Josh Addo-Carr and Christian Welch are back on deck after being rested last week and interchange forward Nelson Asofa-Solomona returns from suspension.

Five-eighth Cameron Munster has been rested, along with Maroons teammate Felise Kaufusi and veteran Dale Finucane.

The Storm are aiming for a club record-equalling 15 consecutive victories.

Team Lists


  • Fullback for Cowboys is number 17 Jake Granville
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nicholas Hynes
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 2 Kyle Feldt
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Dean Ieremia
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 3 Murray Taulagi
    Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
  • Centre for Cowboys is number 4 Connelly Lemuelu
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Winger for Cowboys is number 5 Kane Bradley
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Cowboys is number 6 Scott Drinkwater
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cooper Johns
  • Halfback for Cowboys is number 7 Tom Dearden
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes


  • Prop for Cowboys is number 8 Francis Molo
    Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
  • Hooker for Cowboys is number 9 Reece Robson
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Prop for Cowboys is number 10 Jordan McLean
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 11 Shane Wright
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • 2nd Row for Cowboys is number 12 Mitchell Dunn
    2nd Row for Storm is number 18 Trent Loiero
  • Lock for Cowboys is number 13 Jason Taumalolo
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Tui Kamikamica


  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 14 Tom Gilbert
    Interchange for Storm is number 11 Chris Lewis
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 15 Heilum Luki
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Aaron Pene
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 16 Coen Hess
    Interchange for Storm is number 16 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
  • Interchange for Cowboys is number 21 Daejarn Asi
    Interchange for Storm is number 17 Ryan Papenhuyzen


  • Reserve for Cowboys is number 18 Lachlan Burr
    Reserve for Storm is number 19 Jordan Grant

Match Officials

  • Referee: Matt Cecchin
  • Touch Judge: Jon Stone
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara

Last updated:

Key match-up

Tom Dearden v Jahrome Hughes: Cowboys coach Todd Payten was full of praise for his halfback's efforts against the Roosters, describing it as the former Bronco's best game since joining the club in June. Dearden came up with one line break, one line-break assist and a try assist as he asked plenty of questions of the Roosters defence but he'll need to go to another level again to break down the purple wall. Hughes also earned rave reviews from his coach for another polished display against the Knights and he's the perfect link man between the Storm's all-star backline and their powerhouse pack.

Stat attack

Since the Storm and Cowboys squared off in the 2017 grand final they have met on five occasions and the men from Melbourne have won all five, including a 36-20 victory at Sunshine Coast Stadium last year.


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Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.