31 hours ago
Wests Tigers v Storm preview
Time for revenge from the Storm?
The Wests Tigers stunned everyone in the NRL when they took victory in Melbourne against the Storm in a massive upset in Round 2. The Storm will want revenge and it could come just three weeks after that shock defeat when the Tigers host the Storm in a "home" game at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland.
The Tigers surprised everyone with a Round 1 upset over the Sydney Roosters then backed it up with an even bigger shock when the Tigers took a 10-8 victory over Melbourne at AAMI Park. Rather unusually in a Round 5 clash, the Tigers head into the match with a better win loss record than the Storm, the Tigers have won 3 of their 4 games with big upset wins against the Roosters, Storm and plus a victory last weekend against the Eels.
The Storm have slipped to two-and-two after a defeat in a controversial match against Cronulla last weekend, where penalties dominated. The Storm conceded 19 of them, and made 15 errors, and were made to look a second-rate side last week with basic errors. The Storm two victories this season have come against the Bulldogs in Round 1 who whilst putting up a decent performance were a class below - then in Round 3 they dominated the underperforming Cowboys.
The Tigers have an unchanged squad to last weekend, whilst the Storm are forced into changes with Will Chambers and Dale Finucane rubbed out due to suspension, and in the latter's case - injury as well. The forced changes see Young Tonumaipea come into the centres with Kenny Bromwich starting at lock, Justin Olam and Felise Kaufusi come into the reserves.
Last meeting: Round 2 2018 - Storm 8 Wests Tigers 10
Who to watch: The player to watch for the Tigers is Corey Thompson, who has upstaged some of the bigger names in the side. Thompson was rewarded with a contract extension mid-week and has come up with some important plays for the Tigers. So far this season Thompson has crossed the stripe three times, making a total of 20 tackle breaks and 4 line breaks.
Cameron Munster has added himself into the discussion of the big three in Melbourne and after a super performance in Round 1 against the Bulldogs, Munster has seemingly gone missing for the Storm in their other three matches so far in 2018. Munster has taken the "seniority" role in the halves and as mentioned above Munster showed up against the Bulldogs but hasn't created a lot since. He is yet to cross the stripe himself, but does have three try assists and will need more if the Storm are going to beat the Tigers.
The favourite: By default, The Storm have been installed big favourites to get the win but the Tigers won't be easy beats.
My tip: The Storm were poor last weekend against the Sharks but they have the quality on the field and the coaches box to potentially turn it around. The Tigers are playing on confidence, I feel as if the confidence and the happiness in the side can keep their surprising start to the season going. Tigers by 4.
1. Tuimoala Lolohea 2. Corey Thompson 3. Esan Marsters 4. Kevin Naiqama 5. Malakai Watene-Zelezniak 6. Benji Marshall 7. Luke Brooks 8. Russell Packer 9. Pita Godinet 10. Ben Matulino 11. Chris Lawrence 12. Robert Rochow 13. Matt Eisenhuth 14. Jacob Liddle 15. Alex Twal 16. Michael Chee Kam 17. Josh Aloiai
1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Young Tonumaipea 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 21. Felise Kaufusi 12. Ryan Hoffman 15. Tim Glasby 11. Joe Stimson 13. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano
Referees: Adam Gee, Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Sideline Officials: Nick Beashel, Chris McMillan; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;