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Melbourne Storm vs Wests Tigers
Date: 16 May 2019
Time: 7:50pm AEST
Venue: AAMI Park
NRL Round 10
After a month of average performances, Melbourne bounced back in emphatic fashion in Magic Round last week – can Craig Bellamy’s side deliver another statement victory on Thursday night against the Tigers?
Melbourne pulled all of their tricks out the bag last week as they demolished Parramatta by a 64-10 scoreline at Suncorp Stadium.
Now 7-2 for the season and leapfrogging Canberra into third spot on the ladder, can Melbourne build on that triumph and prove they belong in the same company as the Roosters and Rabbitohs?
Bellamy has been forced into two changes for this clash, with injuries to Jahrome Hughes and Curtis Scott meaning call-ups for Marion Seve and Patrick Kaufusi.
Meanwhile, the Tigers also returned to some of their best form during Magic Round as they crushed the hapless Panthers 30-4.
Michael Maguire’s side exploded out of the blocks and scored five tries in the opening 17 minutes, and from there, the Tigers never looked like losing.
It’s been an up-and-down season for the Tigers so far, but they currently occupy sixth place on the ladder and have fond memories of the last two times they met Melbourne.
Indeed, the Tigers won 10-8 in Round 2 and 11-10 in Round 5 last year, so they know they can hang and outlast last year’s Grand Finalists. However, playing at home and confident after last week’s huge win, you can’t back against Melbourne – and I wouldn’t be surprised if they claimed another big victory on Thursday night.
THE TEAM NEWS:
Head Coach: Craig Bellamy
Starting 13: Papenhuyzen, Vunivalu, Chambers, Seve, Addo-Carr, Munster, Croft, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Asofa-Solomona, F. Kaufusi, K. Bromwich, Finucane – Interchanges: B. Smith, Welch, Kamikamica, P. Kaufusi – Reserves: Walters, Stimson, Faasuamaleaui, Earl
Unavailable: Scott Drinkwater, Tom Eisenhuth, Curtis Scott, Jahrome Hughes
Head Coach: Michael Maguire
Starting 13: Mbye, Fonua, Jennings, Marsters, Thompson, Marshall, Brooks, Matulino, Farah, Twal, Matterson, McQueen, Eisenhuth – Interchanges: Liddle, Mikaele, Aloiai, Chee-Kam – Reserves: Momirovski, Taylor, Clark, Garner
Unavailable: Chris Lawrence, Josh Reynolds
Melbourne were rampant as they punished a poor Parramatta side by racking up 64 points. It was a big turnaround from the Storm’s recent poor performances and they will now look to kick on as they host Wests Tigers who also enjoyed a good win last week. It will be interesting to see how they go with a change in the spine but Ryan Papenhuyzen did a good job there last week when called upon. The Tigers were able to relax after they felt they had the game won in the first 20 minutes last week but face a very different task here and will fall short as Melbourne can make it back-to-back wins.