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The two dominant clubs of recent times face off on Thursday night, with both coming off strong last-start victories.

At least one of these clubs has appeared in each of the past four NRL grand finals, with the Storm featuring in 2016, '17 and '18 and the Roosters playing in (and winning) the past two.

The premiers downed the Dragons last week without nine injured players and having dropped regular halfback Kyle Flanagan. Melbourne, meanwhile, defied the absence of injured skipper Cameron Smith to blow the Bulldogs away early on the Sunshine Coast.

While neither club is at full strength, this could still be an early preview of this year's premiership decider.

The Rundown

Team news

Roosters: Ryan Hall is a late out, with Christian Tuipulotu making his debut on the wing, Nat Butcher named in the front row and Lindsay Collins to come off the bench. Max Bailey, Kyle Flanagan and Egan Butcher were the other players to drop out of the initial 21-man squad.

Josh Morris is back from a calf injury at centre, allowing Mitch Aubusson to return to the back row. None of Jared Waerea-Hargreaves, Boyd Cordner, Angus Crichton or Brett Morris will return this week.

The Roosters have won 11 of their past 12 games at the Sydney Cricket Ground.

Epic incoming: Another chapter of the NRL's great modern rivalry

Storm: Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and lock Dale Finucane are back after a week's rest while Ryley Jacks starts at five-eighth for the injured Cameron Munster. Tino Faasuamaleaui and Nicho Hynes revert to the bench.

Brenko Lee returns from a broken hand and starts at centre, bumping Tom Eisenhuth to the bench. Albert Vete and Sandor Earl dropped off the extended bench on game day after Cooper Johns and Chris Lewis were omitted 24 hours out from kick-off.

Not one member of the Storm's line-up has experienced a victory at NRL level at the SCG.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Roosters is number 1 James Tedesco
    Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
  • Winger for Roosters is number 5 Matt Ikuvalu
    Winger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi Vunivalu
  • Centre for Roosters is number 3 Josh Morris
    Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
  • Centre for Roosters is number 4 Joseph Manu
    Centre for Storm is number 21 Brenko Lee
  • Winger for Roosters is number 19 Christian Tuipulotu
    Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
  • Five-Eighth for Roosters is number 6 Luke Keary
    Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Ryley Jacks
  • Halfback for Roosters is number 7 Lachlan Lam
    Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes

Forwards

  • Prop for Roosters is number 10 Siosiua Taukeiaho
    Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
  • Hooker for Roosters is number 9 Jake Friend
    Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
  • Prop for Roosters is number 16 Nat Butcher
    Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 11 Sitili Tupouniua
    2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
  • 2nd Row for Roosters is number 12 Mitchell Aubusson
    2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
  • Lock for Roosters is number 13 Isaac Liu
    Lock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane

Interchange

  • Interchange for Roosters is number 8 Lindsay Collins
    Interchange for Storm is number 3 Tom Eisenhuth
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 14 Drew Hutchison
    Interchange for Storm is number 14 Nicho Hynes
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 15 Poasa Faamausili
    Interchange for Storm is number 15 Tino Faasuamaleaui
  • Interchange for Roosters is number 17 Daniel Fifita
    Interchange for Storm is number 17 Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Key match-up

James Tedesco v Ryan Papenhuyzen. Tedesco is coming off his quietest performance of the season, with a season-low 182 run metres and zero tackle breaks against the Dragons. Papenhuyzen, meanwhile, was rested from last week's win over the Bulldogs, perhaps in anticipation for this bigger match-up.

It means both star fullbacks should be feeling relatively fresh for this clash, with either capable of producing a match-winning play out of nothing.

Stat Attack

These teams played out the game of the season in round eight, Melbourne prevailing 27-25 in golden point. In a sign of just how much a battle of attrition this season has become, six of the nine players who scored points in last month's match – Paul Momirovski, Cameron Smith, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Kyle Flanagan, Josh Morris and Brett Morris – didn't take the field last week.