Time to look ahead to Sunday's decider! Rob Crosby has a full look at both teams and what to expect ...
45 hours ago
Saturday, 17 September 2005 MELBOURNE STORM v NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS Kick off: 7:45pm. Aussie Stadium. Referee: Paul Simpkins.
The Melbourne Storm have undergone some line-up changes following their 24-18 away win over the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp Stadium last Saturday. In response to a number of injury concerns, Melbourne have named an extended bench in a 20-man line-up.
As reported, Billy Slater has been ruled out for up to six weeks with ankle ligament damage giving Queenslander Greg Inglis his chance at fullback. Outgoing veteran and captain Robbie Kearns, who is undergoing hyperbaric chamber treatment, has been named in the side despite suffering a dislocated shoulder in last weekend?s encounter. The front rower has been given until Saturday to prove his fitness.
The Cowboys have named close to an unchanged line-up to the one that was smashed 50-6 against Wests Tigers at Telstra Stadium last Friday night. Only one player is set to be omitted from the five man bench on match day.
MELBOURNE STORM 1. Greg Inglis, 2. Matt Geyer, 3. Steve Bell, 4. Matt King. 5. Jake Webster, 6. Scott Hill, 7. Matt Orford, 8. Robbie Kearns (c), 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Brett White, 11. David Kidwell, 12. Glen Turner, 13. Dallas Johnson Interchange: 14. Dennis Scott, 15. Cooper Cronk, 16. Antonio Kaufusi, 17. Ryan Hoffman, 18. Alex Chan, 19. Jamie Feeney, 20. Ian Donnelly (three to be omitted). Coach: Craig Bellamy.
NTH QUEENSLAND COWBOYS 1. Matt Bowen, 2. Ty Williams, 3. Josh Hannay, 4. Paul Bowman, 5. Matt Sing, 6. Johnathan Thurston, 7. Brett Firman, 8. Paul Rauhihi, 9. Aaron Payne, 10. Shane Tronc, 11. Steve Southern, 12. Luke O'Donnell, 13. Travis Norton Interchange: David Faiumu, Jacob Lillyman, Justin Smith, Mitchell Sargent, Rod Jensen (one to be omitted). Coach: Graham Murray.
Sunday, 18 September 2005 WESTS TIGERS v BRISBANE BRONCOS Kick off: 4:00pm. Aussie Stadium. Referee: Tim Mander.
Centre Justin Hodges has not been named in an extended 20-man side and is rated a ?30 per cent chance? of recovering from a knee problem in time for this weekend?s sudden-death encounter. Forwards Sam Thaiday (ribs) and Dane Carlaw (bruised sternum) are in doubt while Shane Webcke and Brent Tate are both definitive starters after shaking off their minor injury problems.
WESTS TIGERS 1. Brett Hodgson, 2. Daniel Fitzhenry, 3. Shane Elford, 4. Paul Whatuira, 5. Pat Richards, 6. Benji Marshall, 7. Scott Prince (c), 8. Anthony Laffranchi, 9. Robbie Farah, 10. John Skandalis, 11. Ben Galea, 12. Mark O'Neill, 13. Dene Halatau Interchange: 14. Liam Fulton, 15. Chris Heighington, 16. Bronson Harrison, 17. Bryce Gibbs. Coach: Tim Sheens.
BRISBANE BRONCOS 1. Karmichael Hunt, 2. Scott Minto, 3. Brent Tate, 4. Shaun Berrigan, 5. Leon Bott, 6. Darren Lockyer (c), 7. Brett Seymour, 8. Tonie Carroll, 9. Brad Thorn, 10. Darren Smith, 11. Petero Civoniceva, 12. Barry Berrigan, 13. Shane Webcke. Interchange: Corey Parker, Casey McGuire, Dane Carlaw, Sam Thaiday, Berrick Barnes, Neville Costigan, Darren Mapp (three to be omitted) Coach: Wayne Bennett
ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS and PARRAMATTA EELS have the week off.