Starting 13: Slater, Vunivalu, Chambers, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Croft, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Asofa-Solomona, Kaufusi, Hoffman, Finucane – Interchanges: Glasby, K. Bromwich, Welch, Kasiano – Reserves: Tonumaipea, Stimson, Walters, B. Smith
Unavailable: Sandor Earl, Jahrome Hughes
Reigning Premiers Melbourne Storm carried on where they left off last season as they defeated Canterbury Bulldogs 18-36 in their opening match of the 2018 season last weekend.
Craig Bellamy is able to recall fullback Billy Slater after he recovered from a shoulder injury and will make his 300th NRL appearance. Cameron Munster reverts to five-eighth with Ryley Jacks making way.
Melbourne showed last season they are the masters at controlling games and that was evident again last week against Canterbury. They spent 37:18 in possession, compared to Canterbury’s 31:47.
Wests Tigers produced arguably the shock of the opening round of the season as they defeated one of the pre-season favourites Sydney Roosters 10-8 thanks to a late Corey Thompson try and Tuimoala Lolohea touchline conversion to seal the win.
Adam Reynolds is likely to be out until Round 5 after he tore his hamstring in training last week so will have to wait for his debut. Benji Marshall will continue in the halves in his place.
Wests completed 32 of their 38 sets last week for an 84% completion rate and that will have to be a similar number in this game if they are to compete with Melbourne.
Melbourne began the season in ominous fashion as they defeated a solid looking Canterbury side and will look to lay down another marker of intent against Wests Tigers this week. Billy Slater will play his 300th NRL game in front of his home crowd at AAMI Park with the Storm likely to put in a big performance in honour of their esteemed teammate. Wests played well to defeat the Roosters last week but will need further improvement against the Storm which they’re unlikely to be capable of.
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