There are plenty of talking points ahead of what is bound to be another thriller between the Sydney Roosters and Melbourne Storm this Friday as both teams gun for three wins in a row.
Recent History: Sydney Roosters vs Melbourne Storm
Easts and Melbourne meet for the 42nd time since the Storm's inception in 1998 - with the opposition holding a slender 23 wins to the Tricolours' 18 between the two.
The spoils have been split down the middle over the past six encounters, and while Melbourne has won the past two, the Roosters have taken victory when the stakes are at their highest, which of course includes the emphatic 21-6 Grand Final victory in 2018 and the 2019 Preliminary Final win which saw the Tricolours advance to the Grand Final in a tense 14-6 win.
The Storm have been rampant over the past fortnight, piling on 92 points against both the Broncos and Bulldogs respectively, while the boys from Bondi are up for the challenge after two gritty wins against the Warriors and Sharks.
How They Line Up
Trent Robinson welcomes back two names to his line up as Adam Keighran and Lindsay Collins return to the bench, while Ben Marschke comes into the starting side deputising for Freddy Lussick having successfully contested a crusher tackle charge.
Sitili Tupouniua comes back into the starting side as Nat Butcher reverts back to the interchange, while Fletcher Baker is named in reserves alongside Daniel Suluka-Fifita, Matt Ikuvalu and Jesse Marschke.
In contrast, the Storm keep the same seventeen that defeated the Bulldogs in Round 5, with the only change seeing Nelson Asofa-Solomona starting ahead of Tui Kamikamica at lock.
Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan PapenhuyzenFullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
Winger for Storm is number 2 George JenningsWinger for Roosters is number 2 Daniel Tupou
Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis SmithCentre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin OlamCentre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-CarrWinger for Roosters is number 19 Matt Ikuvalu
Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron MunsterFive-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Drew Hutchison
Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome HughesHalfback for Roosters is number 7 Sam Walker
Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse BromwichProp for Roosters is number 8 Isaac Liu
Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon SmithHooker for Roosters is number 9 Benjamin Marschke
Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian WelchProp for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Angus Crichton
2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Sitili Tupouniua
Lock for Storm is number 15 Tui KamikamicaLock for Roosters is number 13 Victor Radley
Interchange for Storm is number 13 Nelson Asofa-SolomonaInterchange for Roosters is number 14 Adam Keighran
Interchange for Storm is number 14 Harry GrantInterchange for Roosters is number 15 Jared Waerea-Hargreaves
Interchange for Storm is number 16 Tom EisenhuthInterchange for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
Interchange for Storm is number 17 Nicho HynesInterchange for Roosters is number 17 Lindsay Collins
Reserve for Storm is number 20 Chris LewisReserve for Roosters is number 18 Fletcher Baker
- Referee: Adam Gee
- Touch Judge: Todd Smith
- Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
- Senior Review Official: Henry Perenara
Key Matchup: Siosiua Taukeiaho vs Jesse Bromwich
While there are a number of on-field matchups across the park that are set to ignite on Friday night, there's no doubting the impact that both Siosiua Taukeiaho and Jesse Bromwich have for their respective sides.
The two hulking front rowers have been natural leaders for their forward packs for a number of seasons now, and are both generally unheralded figures compared to some of their teammates - but that certainly doesn't mean they aren't as influential.
In season 2021 Taukeiaho has been a consistently strong presence for the Roosters, particularly with the absence of a number of leaders in the pack. The 29-year-old has averaged 58 minutes per game and has kept busy with an average 136 metres and 32 tackles and has also taking up the goalkicking mantle, kicking 15 goals at a 75% success rate.
His opposite has been a veteran of the NRL for over a decade, and while his numbers seem to be a little lower than the Roosters' fan-favourite in comparison, 106 metres and 23 tackles per game in an average of 47 minutes is not to be underestimated.
What They Said
"Down there it’s always tough, we’ve got a lot of leaders out but we’re going to have to step up and really dig it. It’s going to be a challenge for us but we’re looking forward to it. We’re ready to go again this week" - James Tedesco
"The contests we’ve had of late have almost been barbaric with the way we’ve gone about our business. Both teams are playing some good footy at the moment and it’s going to be a good contest." - Brett Morris
"It’s time for us to go down there and put two halves together and challenge what we want to get out of the game. Inside these walls, inside any Club you want to be consistent and keep turning up." - Trent Robinson
Claiming the two competition points in Melbourne is never an easy feat, but our Roosters have taken adversity head-on in 2021, and it won't be any different against the Storm on Friday on their home turf.
Make sure you grab your tickets here, and if you can't make the game be sure to head down to Artie's to watch the boys in Red, White and Blue do battle in what will be another thriller!