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7:50pm Thu July 2, 2020
Round 8 - Suncorp Stadium

Round 8: Storm v Roosters preview

The Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters take each other on in what will be a clash of two teams who have been at the top of their game in recent times. 

These two sides have built a strong rivalry, particularly in more recent seasons due to games such as the 2018 Grand Final and last year's golden point victory to the Roosters. 

The only change in the Melbourne side that defeated the Warriors 50-6 last week is a big one. Representative five-eighth Cameron Munster is out with an injury to his MCL and the Storm will have to deal with his omission for a number of weeks. The injury means Ryley Jacks comes back into the side to partner Jahrome Hughes in the halves. 

For the Roosters, James Tedesco is back in the side after he missed last week's game due to precautionary reasons after a head knock in their game against Parramatta. Joseph Manu will move back to the centres and Brett Morris goes back out wide on the wing. This means Ryan Hall drops out of the side and Mitchell Aubusson goes back to the bench. Sam Verills is out after injuring his ACL last week and will be out for the season, as Jake Friend starts this game. The Roosters suffered a massive loss in Victor Radley for the season last week, also to an ACL injury. Nat Butcher replaces him at lock. Poasa Faamausili comes onto the bench for this game as well. 

Some big losses for both teams this week make for a very interesting encounter between two premiership threats. How the Storm structure their attack without Cameron Munster will be very interesting to see. Just how the Roosters adapt to the loss of Victor Radley will also be interesting to see and it would be expected to see some experimentation done to see how the side functions best without him. 

Last meeting: Finals Week 3 2019 - Roosters 14 Storm 6

Who to watch: In such a big clash, look for the big players to stand up and have their say on the game. Cameron Smith will have to stand up with the loss of Cameron Munster. The Storm don't really have any established halves playing in their side this week and for the Storm to win against the Roosters, Smith will have to take control of his side. 

Jared Waerea-Hargreaves enjoys taking on the big challenge in the middle of the field. With the loss of Victor Radley in last week's game, he stood up big time and made sure the Roosters won the middle. Look for him to take on Melbourne in the middle of the field to the best of his ability as he takes the challenge head on. 

The favourite: The Roosters are favourites to win this game after coming off 5 straight wins. 

My tip: The Storm have lost Cameron Munster and without any established NRL halves they will probably struggle in attack especially. The Roosters are without Victor Radley and the changes to their attacking ways will take some time to get used to. They would also be a little tired, showing signs of it last week. The 7-day turnaround will be their longest in the past 3 rounds and it wouldn't be surprising to see them a bit weary coming into this game. Despite this, the Roosters will have too much quality and Melbourne just simply won't have the attacking ability to trouble the Roosters defensive line too much. Roosters by 14.