NRL Round 14 – Match 5 Preview: Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters

Monday night’s match sees the Melbourne Storm return to their new AAMI Park home ground where they will face the inconsistent Roosters.

Melbourne were beaten in a heated 24 – 10 loss to the Eels in a Grand Final rematch last weekend, and they will be looking to return to form and secure just their second victory at AAMI Park after losing their inaugural match there against the Broncos back in round nine.

Last week Sydney dropped out of the top eight after they suffered an embarrassing 42 – 18 loss to the Sharks, and look in trouble of not making the finals at the end of the season if they can’t start to string together a couple of back-to-back wins.

Even though the competitors they face have been a little flaky this year, the Storm will be pushed to their limits as they go out a weakened team without five of their star players away at camp Origin. Fullback Billy Slater, big Greg Inglis, hooker Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Brett White will all be missing, again testing the depth of the Melbourne club.

The loss of so many playmakers sees the Storm start as the underdogs, currently at $2.35 through while the Roosters are the pronounced $1.60 favourites.

But Sydney too are missing some instrumental players with Nate Myles representing Queensland and Mitchell Pearce named as the Blues halfback in the State of Origin Teams.

The Storm have some fresh young faces filling in for the big guns on Monday, and it will be an important match for Adam Blair who will be the first Polynesian to captain Melbourne since Stephen Kearney.

We are going to pick the underdogs here and say Melbourne will win in Melbourne even without their stars, as the Roosters defence last week left a lot to be desired, and make it four wins in a row against the Chooks.

Current Head-to-Head Odds: Storm $2.35 – Roosters $1.60

Round 14 Storm Team:

1. Justin O’Neill 2. Matt Duffie 3. Dane Nielsen 4. Chase Stanley 5. Luke MacDougall 6. Brett Finch 7. Luke Kelly 8. Bryan Norrie 9. Ryan Hinchcliffe 10. Aiden Tolman 11. Adam Blair (c) 12. Sika Manu 13. Todd Lowrie

Bench: 14. Rory Kostjasyn 15. Kevin Proctor 16. Jeff Lima 17. Ryan Tandy

Reserve: 18. Robbie Rochow

Round 14 Roosters Team:

1. Anthony Minichiello 2. Phil Graham 3. BJ Leilua 4. Shaun Kenny-Dowall 5. Sam Perrett 6. Braith Anasta (c) 7. Todd Carney 8. Jason Ryles 9. Jake Friend 10. Mose Masoe 11. Tom Symonds 12. Mitchell Aubusson 13. Frank-Paul Nuuausala

Bench: 14. Daniel Conn 15. Martin Kennedy 16. Lopini Paea 17. Nick Kouparitsas

Reserve: 18. James Aubusson