Warriors On The Charge

Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Simon Mannering has led his side to six wins from seven matches. Picture: Hannah Johnston/Getty Images
Last 5 Meetings

Round 7, 2013 – Melbourne Storm 28 d NZ Warriors 18 at AAMI Park
Round 13, 2012 - Melbourne Storm 22 d NZ Warriors 12 at Mt Smart Stadium
Round 8, 2012 - Melbourne Storm 32 d NZ Warriors 14 at AAMI Park
Preliminary Final, 2011 – NZ Warriors 20 d Melbourne Storm 12 at AAMI Park
Round 16, 2011 - Melbourne Storm 16 d NZ Warriors 8 at Mt Smart Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 15    Rd 16    Rd 17    Rd 18    Rd 19 
Warriors

-

W

L

-

W

Storm

L

L

W

L

-


The Warriors  will be looking to claim another big scalp when they face the Storm  at Mt Smart Stadium on Sunday, having already beaten several premiership hopefuls in a run that has seen them win six of their past seven matches. The Roosters, Sea Eagles and Knights have all fallen victim to a rampant New Zealand outfit closing in on the top eight, but the defending premiers represent another step up for Matthew Elliott’s men.

Ngani Laumape is the only new face in the New Zealand squad for this match, after being drafted in to replace Glen Fisiiahi, who tore his right pectoral muscle against in his sides 24-14 victory over the Tigers last Friday night.

Melbourne welcomes its rep stars back after a testing State of Origin period that saw the club lose three of its past four matches, with Brett Finch shifting to five-eighth from halfback to accommodate the return of Cooper Cronk. Finch returned to the club as backup for the halves during the offseason and is now the man in the spotlight following a season ending injury to Gareth Widdop.

1st Tryscorer

Since finding his place in the team as lock against the Knights in round 11, Elijah Taylor  has been one of the most important players for the Warriors. Not only has he been a tireless worker in defence but he has also been a genuine attacking threat, having scored in four of his past seven matches.

Maurice Blair  didn’t get an opportunity in the top grade till round eight against Canberra but has been a revelation for the Storm ever since. He has scored seven tries in as many matches at centre for the defending premiers and opened the scoring for his side on four of those occasions.

Prediction

The Warriors are arguably the in-form team of the competition at the moment, while the Storm’s recent record is anything but flash. The impact that the return of Slater, Cronk and Smith has on the rest of the squad is immeasurable and they will be sure to put in a better performance than they did when humiliated 39-0 by the Bulldogs a fortnight ago, but whether that will be enough to topple New Zealand is the big question. New Zealand Warriors by 4

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