Watch Melbourne Storm vs North Queensland Cowboys NRL Live Streaming Free match will be kick off at AAMI Park Stadium, Melbourne City Centre, Australia, Thursday, 22 March 2018 online, 8.05 pm AEDT and its broadcast on Channel Fox League.
While you’d expect nothing less from clashes between two of the competition’s biggest and best performers over the last few seasons, it’s pleasing to be reminded that when the Cowboys and Storm meet on the same patch of turf, the sparks often fly.
Both sides boast talent across the park with some of the game’s modern greats on deck in the spine of each side and the first meeting of Melbourne and North Queensland of 2018 should be another tremendous platform for the likes of Johnathan Thurston, Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Matt Scott.
While the attacking experience of both sides is never far from view it will be the defensive efforts of both sides that dictate how well they’re able to shut down key opposition playmakers. If the traveling Cowboys can keep tabs on Smith, Slater and the likes of Cameron Munster and try-scoring wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr, they’ll go some way to winning a tight contest while the Storm will be hoping to shut down the craft and guile of Johnathan Thurston and the returning Michael Morgan.
Closing down Thurston may prove a task too difficult though given the incandescent form of the former recently retired Queensland and Australia halfback who has managed a handy five try assists and an average of 95 run metres per game across the first two weeks of the campaign.
The Storm have named an unchanged team despite last week’s defeat to the Wests Tigers. Felise Kaufusi remains out with a hamstring injury.
The Cowboys make two changes with Michael Morgan and Coen Hess back in the side. Te Maire Martin and Ethan Lowe drop down to the interchange bench.
Melbourne Storm: 1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Will Chambers, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Brodie Croft, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Joe Stimson, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Tim Glasby, 15 Kenny Bromwich, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano. Reserves: 18 Young Tonumaipea, 19 Tui Kamikamica, 20 Billy Waters, 21 Brandon Smith
North Queensland Cowboys: 1 Ben Hampton, 2 Kyle Feldt, 3 Justin O’Neill, 4 Javid Bowen, 5 Antonio Winterstein, 6 Michael Morgan, 7 Johnathan Thurston (c), 8 Matthew Scott (c), 9 Jake Granville, 10 Jordan McLean, 11 Gavin Cooper, 12 Coen Hess, 13 Jason Taumalolo. Interchange: 14 Te Maire Martin, 15 John Asiata, 16 Scott Bolton, 17 Ethan Lowe. Reserves: 18 Corey Jensen, 19 Kyle Laybutt, 20 Francis Molo, 21 Enari Tuala
No matter how this one pans out, there’s every chance we are going to be served up an instant classic and there’s no better way to start a week of footy.
The 2017 premiers and the 2015 premiers both on deck with everything to play for so early in the season, yes please!
That said, I’ve got Melbourne edging a very narrow contest.