TEAMS: NSWRL Sydney Shield - 2020 Round 5
17 hours ago | New South Wales Rugby League
Revenge will be the order of the day in Canberra on Saturday night, as the Melbourne Storm head to the nation's capital to avenge their loss to the Canberra Raiders back at the resumption of the season.
Last weekend, the Canberra Raiders struggled to dominate against the St George Illawarra Dragons despite taking an 18-0 lead into the break. The Raiders have struggled for consistency and it was shown last week as they couldn't finish off the Dragons after being able to extend their lead out to 22-0 before the Dragons nearly pulled off a comeback.
The Raiders form since the season resumed has been patchy at best with all signs looking good in Round 3, when they were able to dominate up against the Melbourne Storm winning 22-6. From there, Canberra have struggled to find consistency this season with no dominance in their matches since that victory against Melbourne in Round 3.
Canberra coach Ricky Stuart has again been forced to make significant changes with Sia Soliola and Emre Guler both ruled out due to significant injuries. Dunamis Lui and Josh Papalii are named to start in the front row whilst Kai O'Donnell is set to debut off the bench. Joseph Tapine has moved back into the starting line-up with Ryan Sutton dropping to the bench. Curtis Scott's indifferent form has seen him drop off the interchange in place of Jordan Rapana.
The Melbourne Storm needed more than 80 minutes to get past the Sydney Roosters last weekend following their 27-25 victory last Thursday night. The Storm then scored twice in the space of two minutes to take a 24-22 lead before the Roosters were able to level things and take a one-point lead before the Storm levelled things up to force golden point. A penalty goal at the end of the first period of extra-time sealed the 27-25 victory.
The Storm haven't been their consistent best in 2020 but are climbing up the NRL ladder to sit in third spot behind the Eels and Panthers. The Storm have won four of their past five matches including a 50-6 victory over the NZ Warriors. Coach Craig Bellamy has been forced into one change with Suliasi Vunivalu out after suffering a hamstring injury last weekend. Marion Seve has been named on the wing. Cameron Smith has been named in his traditional number 9 role with Ryley Jacks at halfback and Brandon Smith named on the bench, although changes could be likely with Cameron Smith starting at halfback last week.
Last meeting: Round 3 2020 - Storm 6 Raiders 22
Who to watch: The Raiders five-eighth Jack Wighton has had an inconsistent season for the Raiders and will need to find his a-game if the Raiders want to win. Wighton has been good in patches but choices of play have let Canberra down at key times which like many in the Raiders team hasn't helped their consistency at all. Wighton will need to be on song if the Raiders want to beat Melbourne again.
Since losing Cameron Munster, a lot of Melbourne's attacking aspects have fallen upon Jahrome Hughes who has had the number 7 jersey this season. Hughes was a key part of the Storm's comeback last weekend taking on the kicking duties and standing up in defence.
The favourite: There isn't a clear favourite for the match with both sides going up on either side as favourites across different organisations. The history of the two teams plays a big part in this given that the Raiders have had a strong record of late over the Storm.
My tip: The Raiders might have had a strong record over the Storm of late and took victory when these two sides met in Round 3 but since that point Canberra have struggled to find any consistency whatsoever. The Storm haven't been their clinical best but are starting to find their groove and should be able to have enough to get over the Raiders who are missing some key players. It'll be a tight game and could head to golden point but I think the Storm should be able to get over the top of the Raiders. Storm by 4.
1. Charnze Nicoll-Klokstad 2. Nick Cotric 3. Jarrod Croker 4. Michael Oldfield 5. Bailey Simonsson 6. Jack Wighton 7. George Williams 8. Josh Papali'i 9. Josh Hodgson 10. Dunamis Lui 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 15. Kai O'Donnell 13. Joseph Tapine 14. Siliva Havili 16. Ryan Sutton 17. Jordan Rapana
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 20. Brenko Lee 3. Justin Olam 4. Paul Momirovski 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Ryley Jacks 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Christian Welch 15. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane 14. Brandon Smith 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 18. Darryn Schonig 21. Nicholas Hynes
Referees: Grant Atkins; Sideline Officials: Dave Munro, Peter Gough; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Ben Galea;