Storm v Broncos Match-Up

The Storm went down to the Roosters 10-6 at the Sydney Football Stadium last week with early offside penalties costing the team dearly. The loss left the Storm in 11th position.

On the other hand, the Broncos have started the season with three wins in a row, including last week’s 36-2 win over the Cowboys at Suncorp Stadium. Brisbane remains the only unbeaten team in the competition and sit on top of the NRL ladder.

INS AND OUTS

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy has named a 17-man squad for the clash against the Brisbane Broncos.

Greg Inglis, who started his first game of the year from the bench last week, has been elevated to the starting line-up at five-eighth.

Adam Blair has been named to start in the front-row, with Antonio Kaufusi taking his place on the interchange bench.

FAST FACTS

• Melbourne has never lost three games in a row under Craig Bellamy

• Brisbane has not started a season with four wins in a row since 2003

• Melbourne has won six of their past seven games against Brisbane

• In their past four visits to Olympic Park, Brisbane have only scored 14 points, and conceded 114

DID YOU KNOW?

The pre-game entertainment this Friday night includes John Swan (Swanee) singing the national anthem, and Michael Paynter performing two numbers from his new album.

Paynter is a hot new addition to the Sony record label and has just returned from Los Angeles where he has recorded his new album.

KEY MATCH UP

Wallace has been such a revelation in the number seven jersey that experts are saying he’s the first halfback Brisbane have had, who can dominate a game and guide his team around the park, since the glory days of Allan Langer. Considering Langer’s one of the game’s greats, that’s some wrap. If he can grab the game by the scruff of the neck at the most feared venue in the NRL, those superlatives may well be justified.

Conversely, Storm halfback Cooper Cronk has spent the past two seasons proving to the rugby league world what a terrific halfback he is. He is professional in everything he does, from his training, to his preparation, to his performances on game day. The attack has been inefficient over the past two rounds, so expect Cronk to be cranking up his own game on Friday night, particularly with Queensland State-of-Origin coach Mal Meninga watching from the stands.

HEAD-TO-HEAD

Total: Played: 22, Storm: 12, Broncos: 9, Drawn: 1

At Olympic Park: Played: 8, Storm: 6, Broncos: 2

FOR AND AGAINST 2008

Points for: Storm: 54, Broncos: 104

Points against: Storm: 45, Broncos: 28

Tries for: Storm: 9, Broncos: 16

Points differential: Storm: +9, Broncos: +76

LAST ROUND MATCHES:

Storm: def. by Roosters 10-6 @ Sydney Football Stadium, Sydney

Broncos: def. Cowboys 36-2 @ Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

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