Melbourne Storm need to find a way to win without their stars. Image courtesy of: Picture: Colleen Petch Source: Herald Sun
Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters
Sunday June 8 – 3:05 PM (AEST)
Cameron Smith is one of the greatest players to lace a boot. Not just because he is so good on the field, but the courage and determination he showed to back up for the Melbourne Storm after Origin I shows the character of the man. The Storm needs him now more than ever because they come up against the Sydney Roosters who have finally found their mojo.
The Storm needs their “Big 3”. Not only was there no communication at the back against the Cowboys last Saturday, which is what Billy Slater provides, but there was absolutely so direction in attack, which is Cooper Cronk’s domain. Constantly going from left to right, they found no way through the Cowboys defence and yet continued to pursue an attack plan which clearly wasn’t working. Smith did his best to steer the ship, but what Cronk provides is invaluable to the Storm. He changes the game plan if it’s not working to what he sees, like a great footballer does. Coach Craig Bellamy has named the same 17 as last week with some positional changes. Smith returns to hooker, Tohu Harris to five-eighth, Ben Roberts at halfback and Ryan Hinchcliffe at lock.
The Roosters are back into favourites for the Provan-Summons Trophy. After a slow start the season, the men from Bondi have definitely found their feet. Winning five of their last six pushes the Chooks into a congested top 8, but they look set to continue their winning ways. Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney may have missed out on Origin jerseys, but they continue to improve nonetheless. Add Sonny Bill Williams' return to form and the Roosters know the best is yet to come. Coach Trent Robinson has named the same line-up which beat the Raiders on Saturday, with young Willis Meehan named as 18th man.
If Slater and Cronk were available, this could well have been a Grand Final preview. But the loss of them catapults the Roosters into strong favourites, and with good reason.