General Rd 23-preview-sportal.com.au

sebastian_old

Guest
Storm v Warriors

VENUE & TIME: Olympic Park, Saturday night - 19:30 AEST
HEAD TO HEAD: Played 16, Storm 8, Warriors 7, draws 1
COVERAGE: Fox Sports
LAST TIME: Storm 22 - Warriors 16 at Mt Smart Stadium, round 1, 2006


WALKING WOUNDED
The Storm will be without backrower Michael Crocker for two weeks after he was given a two-match ban for a dangerous throw. Forward Ben Cross is hopeful of returning from a knee injury in the first week of the finals, while fullback Billy Slater remains on the sidelines through suspension.
Experienced Warriors second-rower Wairangi Koopu will miss another week due to a shoulder injury, while winger Todd Byrne (broken arm) is racing the clock to play again this season.

FORM
The Storm made it 11 wins on the trot last weekend when they defeated the Broncos 18-12 in front of over 40,000 fans at Suncorp Stadium. They didn't have it all their own way though, failing to register a point until the 44th minute when halfback Cooper Cronk raced over for a try. That was the start of a 15 minute period in the second-half which produced three tries for the Storm which was enough to take the points. It was perfect finals preparation for the competition leaders.
The Warriors would still be well in contention for the finals had they not been stripped of points for salary cap breaches before a ball was even kicked this season. Ivan Cleary's men played the greasy conditions perfectly last Saturday night to thrash the Cowboys 26-0 - the second occasion this season they have kept a side scoreless. The Warriors won the line-breaks 6-0 and missed only 16 tackles in the entire match. What could have been?

WHO'S HOT
Underrated Storm winger Steve Turner bagged his 13th try of the season last week against the Broncos to cap off another fine display. He was also responsible for snuffing out several promising Brisbane attacking raids by racing off his wing to crunch the man in possession. In a possible harsh twist of events, Turner could well be in line for the axe when the Storm have their full contingent of backline stars available for the finals.
For the Warriors, utility Lance Hohaia had another fine game last week, scoring two tries and making 161 metres in the unfamiliar centre position. It will be a real bonus for the club if the former Kiwi international could carry his recent good form into 2007. Prop Ruben Wiki will play his 264th first-grade game this Saturday night, equaling Stephen Kearney's record of the most games ever by a New Zealander.

WHO'S NOT
Michael Crocker. His two-match ban for a dangerous throw on Brisbane's Sam Thaiday in the 66th minute of last Sunday's clash takes his suspension tally to 11 matches so far this season. The Storm obviously knew what they were getting into when they signed the firebrand Queenslander, but 11 games is a bit much in anyone’s terms.

KEY MATCH-UPS
Cooper Cronk v Grant Rovelli
Brett White v Steve Price
Cameron Smith v George Gatis

LIKE TO SEE
The Storm's biggest crowd of the season. The Warriors are traditionally one of Melbourne's better drawing games and with the locals on such a roll there is no reason why Olympic Park can’t be bursting at the seams for this fine match in prospect.

WOULDN'T LIKE TO SEE
Melbourne allowed to slow the play down in the ruck. Great team, but they do like to bend the rules at times and tend to get away with it.

WE THINK
The Storm's wonderful record at Olympic Park will stay intact this Saturday night as they prove too classy out wide for the solid Warriors side. New Zealand will no doubt try to outmuscle Melbourne early in this game, but as we saw last week up in Brisbane, the Storm have all the answers and refuse to panic when the heat is on. Should be a quality game. Storm by 10.
 

sebastian_old

Guest
Cameron Smith is the back-bone of the Storm target him in attack & you logicaly reduce his effectivness, seriously if he gets injured in the finals, the Storm are f*cked, they reley on him for goal-kicking, genral-play kicking & genral attack formation. Take this man out boys, even if someone gets a suspenstion for a high-tackle, its worth a sacrifice to keep our season alive, target Camron Smith!!!!
 

Skinny_Ravs82

Guest
Poor Ravs...every week it's an important battle for him. hehe. Well he got one on those 'old Cowboys for discarding him, earlier this year he got one against the Baby Chooks...he also showed no worries against Joey. Cronk won't be a problem for the little guy. ;)