Schick Hydro Preview: Sydney Roosters v Melbourne Storm
After an impressive performance in a win against the Wests Tigers last weekend, the Roosters will be looking to get back-to-back wins for the first time this season when they take on the Storm on Saturday night.
In what were terrible conditions in Sydney all weekend, the Tricolours scored twice in the opening 11 minutes on their way to a 32-18 win, just their third of the season.
The Storm find themselves at the other end of the table after Round 13 in equal first position after defeating the Panthers at AAMI Park.
Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk backed-up from Origin and led their side to their sixth straight win, as Cronk laid on three try assists and scored one himself in the 24-6 victory.
During the week the Roosters were given some bad news, as forward Boyd Cordner will be sidelined for at least 4-6 weeks after a foot injury.
The Roosters have also lost Isaac Liu for this weekend's game with the Storm, as Mitchell Frei comes in as his replacement.
The Melbourne Storm remain unchanged, as injured wingers Young Tonumaipea and Richie Kennar will likely spend another week with the Storm's feeder sides in a bid to regain some fitness.
Watch out Roosters: For the Tricolours to come away victorious against the Storm on Saturday night, their attack needs to be at its best. The Storm have the best defensive record of any team this season, and haven’t allowed any of their opponents to score more than 20 points in a single game this year. The Roosters have allowed more than double the points the Storm have conceded, so the game will need to become a high scoring one if the Roosters are to have a chance this weekend.
Watch out Storm: Normally the weather is a factor for both teams and not just one, but this Saturday night could be the exception to the rule. The Storm haven’t played in conditions that Sydney have seen recently all season, which can take some time getting used to, especially if your opponents are familiar with the weather. The Roosters were quite clean in very poor conditions last week, and if they can get on top of a Storm side early in the game while Melbourne are learning to adjust, it could put them in the box seat to win the game.
Key match-up: Jared Waerea-Hargreaves v Jesse Bromwich. The prop battle this week will pit a prop finding form up against one of the best forwards in the league. Waerea-Hargreaves started last week's win over the Tigers, and he had a huge impact on the result. Waerea-Hargreaves ran for 247 from just 22 runs, helping the Roosters to their third win of the season. Bromwich has had another fantastic season in purple in 2016, and was instrumental in leading the Storm past the Panthers last weekend. Both props will be looking to will their side to victory on Saturday night, and this is shaping up to be the match-up of the game.
The history: Played 30; Roosters 14, Storm 16. The Storm have slightly edged the Roosters in the all-time head to head record, but it's the Roosters who have the better record in recent years. The Tricolours have won three of the past five meetings against Melbourne although the Storm won their last contest, the 20-18 win in last year's Qualifying Final.
What are the odds: Melbourne are the best backed side of the entire round and 90% of all money bet on the game has gone on the Storm. The only love for the Roosters has come in the form of line betting according to Sportsbet. Latest odds at Sportsbet.com.au
Match officials: Referee: Ben Cummins. Assistant Referee: Chris Sutton. Touch Judges: Shane Rehm & Belinda Sleeman. Review Officials: Jason Robinson & Ben Galea. Senior RO: Bernard Sutton.
Televised: Fox sports – Live coverage from 7.30pm (AEST)
How we see it: While the Roosters have the better record against the Storm in recent years, that won't matter too much given the teams' ladder positions this season. The Storm haven’t lost since Round 6, so expect that to still be the case after Saturday night. Storm by 12.