2018 NRL – Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights Preview

AT A GLANCE

When? Friday 13th April, 09:00 (UK)

Where? AAMI Park

What channel is it on? UK - Melbourne Storm vs Newcastle Knights will not be televised live in the UK Australia - Foxtel, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match? UK - N/A Australia - https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-...

Are tickets still available? http://premier.ticketek.com.au...

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

STORM

Head Coach: Craig Bellamy

Starting 13: Slater, Vunivalu, Tonumaipea, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Jacks, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Asofa-Solomona, F. Kaufusi, Hoffman, K. Bromwich – Interchanges: Stimson, Glasby, Welch, Kasiano – Reserves: B. Smith, P. Kaufusi, Croft, Olan

Unavailable: Sandor Earl, Jahrome Hughes, Will Chambers, Dale Finucane

  • Melbourne’s poor start to the season continued as the reigning Premiers lost to Wests Tigers for the second time this season. The Storm went down 11-10 at Mt Smart with Benji Marshall’s 73rd minute drop goal the difference.
  • Craig Bellamy has decided to make a change in the halves with Brodie Croft making way for Ryley Jacks.
  • Melbourne’s performance was again error strewn with them looking a shadow of last season’s side in these early rounds. They completed just 26 of their 40 sets (65%) with them making 19 errors throughout the game.

KNIGHTS

Head Coach: Nathan Brown

Starting 13: Ponga, Kenny-Dowall, S. Mata'utia, Ross, Sio, Lamb, Pearce, D. Saifiti, Griffin, Lillyman, Fitzgibbon, Guerra, Ese'ese – Interchanges: Levi, Heighington, Buhrer, J. Saifiti, – Reserves: Yates, King, Cogger, Dennis

Unavailable: Nick Meaney, Connor Watson, Tautau Moga, Mitch Barnett

  • Newcastle produced a solid display as they earned their third win of the season with a win at home to Brisbane last week. After back-to-back losses, the Knights were too good for the Broncos, claiming a 15-10 win.
  • Mitch Barnett has copped a one-match ban so will sit out this game with Herman Ese’ese taking his place at lock and Daniel Saifiti promoted to the starting line-up at prop.
  • Kayln Ponga has had a brilliant start to his Newcastle career and continued that form with another impressive performance against the Broncos, leading to calls for a potential Origin call-up. Ponga made 223 metres against the Broncos, the most by any player in the match.

THE PREDICTION

Very few people would have predicted at the start of the season that these two sides would meet in Round six with the Knights having more wins on the board. The Storm haven’t hit the heights of last season with Cooper Cronk’s departure looking like it has had a huge impact on Melbourne. His young replacement Brodie Croft has been dropped this week after underperforming in recent weeks with Ryley Jacks given his chance to fill the void left by Cronk. Newcastle will fancy their chances here but Melbourne should improve on home soil and can get back to winning ways in what could be a close game.