Round 16: Roosters v Storm preview
The Roosters come into the game high on confidence after heading into the representative weekend with a big win over the top of the table Panthers side. The Roosters took victory over the Panthers by 32-6 after having 67% of possession and being on the right end of a 9-3 penalty count as well as plenty of contentious calls. The Roosters improvement to that level was a big form leap after struggling to get past the Newcastle Knights in a 18-16 victory following Origin 1.
The Roosters have given captain Boyd Cordner the weekend off following his concussion in Origin 2 last Sunday as well as Jared Waerea-Hargreaves who was apart of the New Zealand side that played in Denver and was subsequently delayed on their return. The Roosters come into the game sitting in sixth spot with 10 wins from their 15 games so far in 2016.
The Melbourne Storm come into the game with back to back wins before the representative round with the most recent being a 28-10 victory over the Newcastle Knights which itself came off the back an impressive 32-16 victory over the Brisbane Broncos at home after Origin 1. The Storm come into the game in fifth spot and could leap frog into the top 4 if the results go the right way for the Storm.
The Storm welcome back veteran fullback Billy Slater back into the side at fullback with Jahrome Hughes being dropped to the bench, Despite having a strong game for Samoa on the weekend, Sam Kasiano has been left out of the 23 man squad for Friday night's game.
This is the second year in a row between these two sides at the Adelaide Oval with the Roosters winning the first contest by 25-24. The Melbourne Storm have been semi-regular visitors to Adelaide having been the "away" side in four of the past five clashes in Adelaide with the Storm winning three of their five clashes in Adelaide.
Who to watch: Victor Radley - The 20 year old has become a fan favourite so far in 2018 with some powerful running and big hits on some big named opponents. The Roosters second rower has been named to start by coach Trent Robinson who will be expecting Radley to have a big impact. Having just signed a long-term deal to stay at the Roosters.
Billy Slater - The Veteran fullback will be looking to prove that he is back to full fitness after an impressive return from an injury layoff in State Of Origin 2. Slater hasn't made an NRL appearance for the Storm since captaining the side in Round 11 in their defeat to the Sea Eagles. Whilst the Storm are not reliant on Slater they will want him to put in a performance that replicates his start to Origin 2.
The favourite: The Melbourne Storm have been placed as heavy favourites for the contest.
My tip: If the Sydney Roosters can replicate their performance against the Panthers then they are in a strong position. The loss of Boyd Cordner is a concern but the form of James Tedesco is key to their performance and his confidence will be high following NSW's origin win. The Storm are boosted by Slater which evens out the balance of the contest. The game will be decided a handful of points and I think the Roosters will get the win in Adelaide. Roosters by 1.