Wests Tigers will head interstate for just the second time this year as they take on the Melbourne Storm in the penultimate round of the regular season at Sunshine Coast Stadium in Queensland.
With a heartbreaking 26-24 defeat to the South Sydney Rabbitohs last weekend, Michael Maguire's side will be looking to end the season on a positive note despite their absence from the 2020 finals campaign, and will certainly be determined to send departing legends Benji Marshall and Chris Lawrence out on a high.
Both Marshall and Lawrence have been named in the run-on side as they were last weekend — the latter replacing co-captain Moses Mbye in the centres, who has once again not been named as he battles a troublesome knee injury.
Marshall will form a new-look halves combination with Josh Reynolds, after regular halfback Luke Brooks attracted a one-game suspension for his part in last week's melee against the Rabbitohs. Reynolds has not started since Round 9 and has not partnered in the halves with Marshall since Round 2 — one of many combinations used throughout the 2020 season by Coach Maguire.
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There's no shortage of team news for either side with the visitors also set to welcome back Zane Musgrove (foot) and Joey Leilua (ankle) from injury.
Musgrove's long-awaited return sees the Samoan international take the place Alex Twal — who was ruled out late with an illness on game day — while the experienced Leilua returns at centre in place of Tommy Talau.
NRL.com preview Storm clash
Melbourne were set to welcome back experienced prop Christian Welch before the big man was ruled out with suspension off the back of a COVID-19 breach.
Tino Fa'asuamaleaui is Welch's replacement at prop, while Brandon Smith and Paul Momirovski both return from injury to take their place on the bench.
Since making the move to Sunshine Coast Stadium in Round 10, the Storm have certainly made it a home away from home with five wins from five games — scoring an average of 35 points per game in the process. Wests Tigers did face off against the Storm in a trial match at the venue back in 2016, however, with David Nofoaluma crossing late on to give the visitors an 18-16 victory.
Despite being at opposite ends of the competition ladder heading in to Round 19, Saturday's game is also shaping up as a close encounter between the two sides, with the last six games between the two being decided by single digits.
Date — Saturday, September 19, 2020
Time — 5:30pm AEST
Venue — Sunshine Coast Stadium, Sunshine Coast
TV, RADIO AND LIVE STREAM INFORMATION
TV — Live via FOX League (Ch.502)
Radio — AM 702 ABC Grandstand, AM 873 2GB
Live Stream — Foxtel Go, KAYO, NRL Digital Pass and Watch NRL (int.)
LATEST TEAM NEWS
Melbourne Storm — Christian Welch was set to return at prop before a COVID-19 breach saw him stood down by the club. His omission sees Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Tino Fa'asuamaleaui move in to the starting side, while Paul Momirovski joins the bench in his first game back from a hand injury. Brandon Smith could also be a late inclusion after being named in jersey 18.
Wests Tigers — Alex Twal (illness) is a late out, with Zane Musgrove, Russell Packer, Jacob Liddle and Luke Garner forming a new-look bench. Sam McIntyre starts in the back row, while Joey Leilua returns from injury in place of Tommy Talau.
Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nicho HynesFullback for Wests Tigers is number 1 Adam Doueihi
Winger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi VunivaluWinger for Wests Tigers is number 2 David Nofoaluma
Centre for Storm is number 3 Brenko LeeCentre for Wests Tigers is number 3 Joseph Leilua
Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin OlamCentre for Wests Tigers is number 4 Chris Lawrence
Winger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-CarrWinger for Wests Tigers is number 5 Asu Kepaoa
Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron MunsterFive-Eighth for Wests Tigers is number 6 Josh Reynolds
Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome HughesHalfback for Wests Tigers is number 7 Benji Marshall
Prop for Storm is number 8 Jesse BromwichProp for Wests Tigers is number 8 Josh Aloiai
Hooker for Storm is number 9 Cameron SmithHooker for Wests Tigers is number 9 Harry Grant
Prop for Storm is number 15 Tino FaasuamaleauiProp for Wests Tigers is number 10 Thomas Mikaele
2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 11 Sam McIntyre
2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich2nd Row for Wests Tigers is number 12 Luciano Leilua
Lock for Storm is number 13 Nelson Asofa-SolomonaLock for Wests Tigers is number 15 Matthew Eisenhuth
Interchange for Storm is number 16 Tom EisenhuthInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 14 Zane Musgrove
Interchange for Storm is number 17 Tui KamikamicaInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 16 Russell Packer
Interchange for Storm is number 18 Brandon SmithInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 17 Luke Garner
Interchange for Storm is number 20 Max KingInterchange for Wests Tigers is number 21 Jacob Liddle
H2H — Melbourne Storm ($1.11), Wests Tigers ($7.50)
Line — Melbourne Storm (-15.5) $2.00, Wests Tigers (+15.5) $2.00
Odds correct as of 4:00pm, September 19. 18+ only. Gamble responsibly.
Head-to-Head — Played 33, Melbourne Storm 20, Wests Tigers 12, Draw 1
At Sunshine Coast Stadium — Yet to play at Sunshine Coast Stadium
Last Time They Met — Melbourne 24 def. Wests Tigers 22 (Rd.10, 2019)
Referee — Gerard Sutton
Touch Judges — Todd Smith and Peter Gough
Bunker Review Official — Ashley Klein