Full Time
7:50pm Thu April 18, 2024
Round 7 - Allianz Stadium, Moore Park / Gadigal - Crowd: 17714

Round 7: Roosters v Storm preview

Thursday night Rugby League heads to Allianz Stadium as the Sydney Roosters take on the Melbourne Storm in a rematch of a dramatic semi-final battle from last season.

The Sydney Roosters have had a patchy start to the season, currently sitting in 9th place. They come off the back of a last-start 22-20 win in Newcastle against the Knights. Pressure has been on the Roosters both on and off the field, with a mixed start to the season and off-field drama potentially playing a part in the contest, including debate surrounding Michael Jennings' 300th game.

The Roosters currently sit in 9th place, having won 3 of their six games so far this season, showing inconsistencies. They started with a strong win in Las Vegas before a loss against Manly, followed by a big win over the poor-performing South Sydney side. Back-to-back losses against a heavily understrength Panthers side and then against the Bulldogs raised concerns before a good win against Newcastle.

Roosters coach Trent Robinson has made two changes, with James Tedesco returning to his fullback role after missing last week due to a heavy concussion. This move sees Joey Manu return to the centres, with Joseph Suaalii moving back to the wing. The only other change in the Roosters' side is Sitili Tupouniua, who suffered a head knock last week, with Egan Butcher coming into the side. Sam Walker is a chance of returning, having been listed on the reserves bench.

The Melbourne Storm have been far from convincing this season, despite sitting in second place. The Storm's inconsistencies were evident last week, where they managed only a 16-14 victory over the Canterbury Bulldogs at AAMI Park. Despite having most of the possession in the first half, Melbourne couldn't take advantage and actually looked second-best for most of the second half before a late try secured victory.

Inconsistencies have been the story of the Storm's season, even though they sit second on the ladder, having only managed a combined 16-point margin across their four wins this season. Their wins were by 8, 4, 2, and 2 points respectively, and their loss was also by a 2-point margin. The Storm have been struck by injuries and suspensions, which may have prevented them from reaching their full potential.

The Storm have made two changes to their side for the clash against the Roosters, with Nelson Asofa-Solomona coming into the side for his first game of the season, replacing Tui Kamikamica who is ruled out due to a calf injury. Joe Chan also returns to the side, replacing Tepai Moeroa who suffered a back injury last week.

Last meeting: Finals Week 2 2023 - Storm 18 Roosters 13

Who to watch: A lot of criticism is directed towards Roosters fullback James Tedesco. Whether you believe it's justified or not, Tedesco's impact on a game is crucial for the Roosters, especially in a big game like this against the Storm. The Roosters captain will be under intense scrutiny as he will need to make an impact if the Tricolours want to beat the Storm.

Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cam Munster has been under a lot of scrutiny this season, but more for his physical condition due to a mystery groin injury that hampered him, causing him to miss the first four weeks of the season. His return last week was promising, as Munster looked very fit despite reports suggesting he may not reach 100% fitness this season. The concern will be how Munster backs up a week later after his first game of the season with this injury.

Favourite: The Storm are narrow favourites for this one.

My tip:  It's hard to go past the Melbourne Storm in this one. The Roosters haven't been impressive in their performances, and I think the Storm have the edge with players like Ryan Papenhuyzen, Cam Munster, Jarome Hughes, and Harry Grant in their spine, which should be too much for the Roosters. I don't expect the Storm to dominate, but they should have enough to win. Storm by 10.