Round 16 in the 2021 NRL season couldn't come soon enough after almost two weeks without any action. The Sydney Roosters will take on the Melbourne Storm in the first game of the round on Thursday night and our expert Greg Davis has his full preview below.
Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm Betting Tips
McDonald Jones Stadium, Newcastle, Thursday 7.50pm.
Roosters: 1. James Tedesco 2. Daniel Tupou 3. Josh Morris 4. Joey Manu 5. Matt Ikuvalu 6. Lachlan Lam 7. Sam Walker 8. Jared Waerea-Hargreaves 9. Sam Verrills 10. Siosiua Taukeiaho 11. Angus Crichton 12. Sitili Tupouniua 13. Isaac Liu. Interchange: 14. Adam Keighran 15. Egan Butcher 16. Daniel Suluka-Fifita 17. Fletcher Baker. Reserves: 18. Drew Hutchison 19. Ben Thomas 20. Freddy Lussick 21. Joseph Suaalii
Storm:1. Nicho Hynes 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Brandon Smith 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14. Aaron Booth 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Chris Lewis 17. Aaron Pene. Reserves: 18. Cooper Johns 19. Jordan Grant 20. Dean Ieremia 21. Trent Loiero
You won’t find a prouder or more passionate Queenslander than Cameron Munster.
But even the Maroons five-eighth will be relishing the prospect of slipping back into the purple jumper of the table-topping Melbourne Storm for this Thursday’s clash with the Sydney Roosters in Newcastle.
Queensland has managed to score just six points across 160 minutes of football in this year’s State of Origin series with NSW running in 76 points.
But in stark contrast to the savagely mauled Maroons, Melbourne are scoring points in their sleep.
On a 12-match winning streak, the Storm have simply been unstoppable, averaging 36 points per game in 2021.
In their last nine outings, Melbourne have hit 40 or more on seven occasions and averaged 42 points per game. The two times they didn’t reach 40, they scored 34 and 20.
Their last hit-out was the 66-16 belting of the Wests Tigers at Sunshine Coast Stadium so it is fair to say that the Storm’s attack – which Munster is a massive part of – is absolutely humming.
Due to the COVID-19 calamity gripping the nation, the Storm have been forced to quickly get out of their Sunshine Coast camp in Queensland and head home to Melbourne before turning around and travelling north to the neutral venue of McDonald Jones Stadium in Newcastle for a hit-and-run mission on gameday.
It is not an ideal preparation, but it is unlikely to be a significant distraction for such a professional outfit.
Melbourne has four players – Munster, Christian Welch, Felise Kaufusi and Josh Addo-Carr – backing up from Origin II while the Roosters have James Tedesco and Angus Crichton pulling on the boots for the second time in four days.
The injury-hit Roosters welcome back teenage halfback sensation Sam Walker from a shoulder problem which allows Joey Manu to head back to the centres. Jesse Bromwich makes his return to the Storm line-up.
Teams last met in Round 6 when the Storm led 4-0 at halftime and went on to a claim a slugfest 20-4 victory with hooker Harry Grant the pivotal figure.
Grant is out of action for the Storm who have the ridiculous luxury of having Brandon Smith at hooker.
The Storm should have too much class for the patched-up Chooks who started well and battled manfully against Penrith last start but ended up on the wrong side of a 38-12 scoreline.
An untimely and unjustified sin-binning swung the momentum of the match in the first half and the Roosters hardly touched the ball for an extended period of time.
The Roosters won’t turn up their toes like the Tigers did. They will keep coming at the Storm and keep tackling their hearts out. They are a proud – and very well coached – club and will give Melbourne a run for their money.
But Munster and Co will eventually prove too much and the Melbourne juggernaut will roll on relentlessly.
Value: Olam 1st Try ($14)