Wests Tigers v Sea Eagles preview
3 hours ago | Tim Costello
Master versus Apprentice or King versus Heir?
In a very timely and interesting turn of events, Craig Bellamy has been linked with the coaching job at Red Hill. Craig did his apprenticeship at the Broncos before moving to the Storm and becoming one of the most successful coaches of the modern era, that some Broncos organisation are now eyeing a return for Bellamy to build a new dynasty for a club that hasn't had a premiership in over 10 years - the clubs longest drought in its' short history.
Now if we take that little bit off field spice and season the return to form both teams showed last week then we may just be cooking up a classic at Suncorp on Friday night.
At the selection table we have plenty of interesting calls - mostly by Wayne Bennett for his Broncos outfit. The hosts welcome back Kodi Nikorima, but only on the interchange. Jack Bird retains his role in the centres. This forces Sam Tagataese back to the reserves list. Tevita Pangai Junior is promoted back to the starting prop role with Sam Thaiday benched once more.
Melbourne meanwhile have just one key change which sees Young Tonumaipea forced out to accommodate the return from suspension of centre Will Chambers.
Last meeting: Finals Week 3 2017 - Storm 30 Broncos 0
Brisbane were the Storm's final victim on their way to the premiership decider last year - and it was ruthless. Overall, Melbourne dominate this fixture with 29 wins from 43 clashes.
Who to watch: Signed on an eye watering contract from Cronulla, Jack Bird was under pressure from the start of the year and you would say that at the beginning of the year he definitely wasn't delivering on the outlay. Bird was not the only Bronco that wasn't playing to the levels expected however last weekend saw him shift into the halves against the Warriors and deliver a far more rounded performance, the challenge for Jack this week is to build on last weeks form and propel the Broncos up the ladder.
2 games against Brisbane at Suncorp for 5 tries, that's some sort of strike rate! Suliasi Vunivalu would have a reasonable try scoring record against most teams by virtue of the fact he has basically scored at an average of a try a game since the start of his career but it's at Suncorp that we have seen some of the best of him. A hat-trick in his first game at Suncorp where he gave utility Nikorima a nightmare after a Corey Oates injury and a double on his next visit, after a slow start to the year Vunivalu will look to build on the return to form last week by continuing his Suncorp hot streak versus the Broncos.
The favourite: Melbourne's record at the venue and the wonderful performance they delivered last week against Newcastle have the visitors as firm favourites.
My tip: Bellamy has a very strong record against Bennett, the Storm have a very strong record against Brisbane & an even stronger record when playing in Brisbane, but despite all of this the Storm have been too hot and cold for them to get my support this week. In what will be a dour affair as both teams shift back to the disjointed form they showed earlier in the season I expect Brisbane to win in a close game by 4 points.
1. Darius Boyd 2. Corey Oates 3. James Roberts 4. Tom Opacic 5. Jamayne Isaako 6. Jack Bird 7. Anthony Milford 8. Matthew Lodge 9. Andrew McCullough 14. Sam Thaiday 11. Alex Glenn 12. Korbin Sims 13. Josh Mcguire 10. Tevita Pangai Junior 15. Joe Ofahengaue 16. Kodi Nikorima 17. Jaydn Su'a
1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Tim Glasby 14. Brandon Smith 15. Kenneath Bromwich 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano
Referees: Ashley Klein, Gavin Badger; Sideline Officials: Michael Wise, Clayton Sharpe; Video Referees: Steve Chiddy, Luke Patten;