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21 Mar 2018 by TSZ

2018 NRL – Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When? Thursday 22nd March, 09:05 (UK)

Where? AAMI Park

What channel is it on? UK - Sky Sports Arena Australia – Nine Network, Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go

Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-...

Are tickets still available? http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=STORM18

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

STORM

Head Coach: Craig Bellamy

Starting 13: Slater, Vunivalu, Chambers, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Croft, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Asofa-Solomona, Stimson, Hoffman, Finucane – Interchanges: Glasby, K. Bromwich, Welch, Kasiano – Reserves: Tonumaipea, Kamikamica, Walters, B. Smith

Unavailable: Sandor Earl, Jahrome Hughes, Felise Kaufusi

  • Melbourne fell to a shock defeat at home to Wests Tigers with the result ending Billy Slater’s 300th NRL game on a sour note. The Storm conceded a 77th minute Luke Brooks try which left them trailing by two points and the score remained 8-10 at full-time.
  • Melbourne managed just 36% possession which was mainly a result of 16 errors. That’s the most errors the Storm have made in a single game since 2013.
  • Craig Bellamy has handed the same 17 a chance to fix last week’s errors having named an unchanged team. Felise Kaufusi, who was initially slated to start last week, hasn’t yet recovered from a hamstring injury.

COWBOYS

Head Coach: Paul Green

Starting 13: Hampton, Feldt, O'Neill, Bowen, Winterstein, Morgan, Thurston, Scott, Granville, McLean, Cooper, Hess, Taumalolo – Interchanges: Martin, Asiata, Bolton, Lowe – Reserves: Jensen, Laybutt, Molo, Tuala

Unavailable: Josh Chudleigh, Shaun Fensom, Kane Linnett, Lachlan Coote

  • North Queensland were once again involved in an enthralling contest with Brisbane Broncos last week but the Cowboys were beaten 24-20. They looked set to steal a late win but Scott Bolton’s run towards the line saw him collide with the right upright and lose the ball.
  • Lachlan Coote remains sidelined but the good news for the Cowboys is that Michael Morgan returns from an abdominal strain that has kept him out of the first two games of the season.
  • The Cowboys had six more sets than Brisbane last week (41 compared to Brisbane’s 35) along with a higher completion rate (Cowboys completed at 83%, Broncos 74%) but spent less time in possession with the Cowboys only having 46% possession.

THE PREDICTION

Melbourne and North Queensland kick off Round 3 in a rematch of last season’s NRL Grand Final. The Storm will want to fix their error-strewn performance that saw them lose at home to the Tigers whilst the Cowboys will feel better about their effort last week, just losing out to a solid Broncos team. This is a tough one to call with Craig Bellamy unlikely to allow Melbourne to reproduce last week’s performance but the Cowboys could just sneak it with Michael Morgan returning.

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