Melbourne Storm players return to training today after a two-day freshen up to prepare for their preliminary final clash against the Broncos. “We’ve had a couple of days off,” Storm lock Dale Finucane said. “It’s a freshen up week I guess. We had a little bit of work and training earlier on and now we will approach it as a normal seven-day turnaround preparation for us. The Storm are no stranger to playing in the penultimate weekend — this is their third consecutive preliminary final and ninth in the past 12 years. Our NRL expert Gilbert Gardiner runs a rule over what to expect.
HEAD TO HEAD
R3, Storm d Broncos 14-12, AAMI Park R17, Storm d Broncos 42-12, Suncorp Stadium DARIUS Boyd kept the Broncos in the hunt in Round 3 before Josh Addo-Carr landed the knockout punch in the 76th minute, scoring his first try in Storm colours. The Broncos weren’t given a sniff in the return bout at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium with Boyd (thumb) and Anthony Milford (shoulder) out of the side.
KEY MATCH UPS
Cameron Munster (Storm) v Anthony Milford (Broncos) TWO instinct driven five-eighths, who thrive on the big stage. What more could we ask for? A huge opportunity for both players to stamp their credentials as generation next pivots in the NRL. Milford is in hot form after dazzling Penrith with creative carries and offloads, while Munster will be keen to repay Storm after being sin-binned last week. Cameron Smith (Storm) v Ben Hunt (Broncos) TALL order for Hunt as he takes on the raging Dally M favourite at home, but the departing Broncos veteran showed enough against Penrith to suggest that he isn’t ready to ride off into the sunset just yet. Deft passes and probing runs out of dummy half sparked the Broncos, but Smith is in a league of his own.
STORM’S HOME TURF
Broncos @ AAMI Park: 8 games, 3 wins STORM boasts an imposing headto-head record, having won 12 of the past 14 games between the sides, including three of the past five at AAMI Park.
Storm ALL systems go for Storm. The minor premier couldn’t be in any better shape with players fit and firing going into week 3 of the finals. Craig Bellamy is likely to name an unchanged line-up. Billy Slater has recovered fully from a knock to the knee. Broncos DARIUS Boyd (hamstring) will be the news focus at Red Hill this week as the fullback bids to be fit for Friday night. Boyd trained during the week but was ruled out for the Panthers game. Winger Corey Oates was knocked out in the first half and must successfully complete all concussion protocols to be selected to play.
$1.30 Storm $3.50 Broncos
Partly cloudy. Max: 24C Min: 12C