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This has a little "lambs to the slaughter" kind of feel to it with the Storm back home finally after two losses on the road and eager to return to the winning list big-time at the Broncos' expense. 

Coach Kevin Walters would have spent little time celebrating his first win as a NRL head coach last weekend because he knows the mountain of work he needs to get through with his players in facing a Storm side seeking redemption - and doing it in familiar surrounds at AAMI Park after the Victorian government approved travel exemptions for the Broncos to enter the state.

A lot has been made of the Storm losing two straight, but in 2015 Melbourne lost four in a row (R14-18) and still made the preliminary finals. Even more recently they lost three of their first five games in 2018 but managed to make the grand final. 

Still, losing is not part of the Storm's DNA. Over the past five years the number of Storm losses has never reached double digits - including just four in both 2019 and 2020. The Broncos had 17 losses last year and 12 the year before.

Storm v Broncos

The rundown

Team news

Storm: A number of late changes for the Storm with youngster Trent Loiero called in to make his NRL debut on the bench in jersey 20. Nicho Hynes also comes onto the bench after being named in the reserves on Tuesday. Tui Kamikamica comes into the starting side and Nelson Asofa-Solomona switches to the bench.

Aaron Pene and Dean Ieremia were the last two players omitted an hour before kick-off.

Fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen makes his return from a neck injury while back-rower Tom Eisenhuth will also play after suffering rib cartilage damage against Penrith.

Tyson Smoothy and Darryn Schonig were omitted from the squad on Thursday night.

Brenko Lee (hamstring) has had his return delayed by Brisbane's COVID lockdown, which denied him a first hit-out of the season in the Intrust Super Cup,  with Felise Kaufusi (suspension) and Dale Finucane (calf) targeting round five and hooker Harry Grant (knee) an outside chance of also returning that week.

Broncos: Kevin Walters has made a late change in the halves with Tom Dearden promoted to start at halfback at the expense of Brodie Croft, who goes back to the bench.

The return of Payne Haas (suspension) and Matt Lodge (hamstring) is a huge boost for the Broncos and sees Tevita Pangai and Thomas Flegler move to the bench.

Rhys Kennedy and Richie Kennar dropped off the reserves list 24 hours before kick-off. John Asiata and Ethan Bullemor were cut an hour before game time.

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Storm is number 1 Ryan Papenhuyzen
    Fullback for Broncos is number 1 Jamayne Isaako
  • Winger for Storm is number 2 George Jennings
    Winger for Broncos is number 2 Xavier Coates
  • Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
    Centre for Broncos is number 3 Herbie Farnworth
  • Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
    Centre for Broncos is number 4 Tesi Niu
  • Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
    Winger for Broncos is number 5 David Mead
  • Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
    Five-Eighth for Broncos is number 6 Anthony Milford
  • Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
    Halfback for Broncos is number 18 Tom Dearden

Forwards

  • Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
    Prop for Broncos is number 8 Matthew Lodge
  • Hooker for Storm is number 9 Brandon Smith
    Hooker for Broncos is number 9 Jake Turpin
  • Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
    Prop for Broncos is number 10 Payne Haas
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Tom Eisenhuth
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 11 Alex Glenn
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
    2nd Row for Broncos is number 12 Jordan Riki
  • Lock for Storm is number 15 Tui Kamikamica
    Lock for Broncos is number 13 Patrick Carrigan

Interchange

  • Interchange for Storm is number 13 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
    Interchange for Broncos is number 7 Brodie Croft
  • Interchange for Storm is number 16 Chris Lewis
    Interchange for Broncos is number 15 Thomas Flegler
  • Interchange for Storm is number 19 Nicho Hynes
    Interchange for Broncos is number 16 Tevita Pangai Junior
  • Interchange for Storm is number 20 Trent Loiero
    Interchange for Broncos is number 17 Ben Te'o

Match Officials

  • Referee: Gerard Sutton
  • Touch Judge: Matt Noyen
  • Touch Judge: Kasey Badger
  • Senior Review Official: Steve Chiddy

Last updated:

Key match-up 

Tom Dearden v Jahrome Hughes: Broncos coach Kevin Walters has put his faith in Dearden, bringing in him at the last minute and sending Brodie Croft back to the bench.

Plenty of good judges in Brisbane believe Dearden is the man to lead the Broncos into the future and he'll get a great test of his composure and game management up against the classy Hughes, who plays with incredible energy every week. 

Stat attack 

Craig Bellamy is about to coach his 476th NRL game - Kevin Walters just his fourth. But he did sit beside Bellamy in the coaches box for four years - or almost 200 games - as his assistant (2010-2013).

 

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