Melbourne Storm vs Sydney Roosters NRL Round 8 preview: Top-of-the-table clash in Melbourne

Round 8 of the NRL gets underway on Thursday when the Melbourne Storm host the Sydney Roosters at the Suncorp Stadium

It is bound to be a brilliant game, with both teams fighting at the top of the ladder and looking certain to qualify for the finals yet again.

Current world champions, the Roosters, defeated Melbourne on their way to pick up the NRL premiership last year, knocking out the Storm in the preliminary final.

Team news

For the hosts, Ryley Jacks comes into the halves in place of Cameron Munster who is out with a knee injury

The Roosters have more changes to the squad. Jack Friend is back in the starting team with Sam Verrills out with an ACL injury and Nat Butcher starts at lock for Victory Radley who has also injured his ACL.

James Tedesco will return from a head knock sustained against the Eels, pushing Joseph Manu to centre alongside a returning Josh Morris with Ryan Hall out and Mitch Aubusson dropped down to the interchange.

Poasa Faamauslili has returned from a loan to the Warriors and is on the bench

Teams

Melbourne Storm

Starting 13: Papanhuyzen, Vunivalu, Olam, Momirovski, Addo-Carr, Jacks, Hughes, J. Bromwich, Smith, Welch, Kaugusi, K. Bromwich, Finucane.

Interchange: Smith, Faasuamaleaui, Eisenhuth, Asofa-Solomona

Reserves: Johns, Seve, Vete, Lewis

Sydney Roosters

Starting 13: Tedesco, Tupou, J. Morris, Manu, B. Morris, Keary, Flanagan, Waerea-Hargreaves, Friend, Taukeiaho, Cordner, Crichton, Butcher

Interchange: Faamausili, Tupouniua, Aubusson, Collins

Reserves: Fifita, Hall, Lussick, Lam

Form guide

Melbourne Storm - WLWWL

Sydney Roosters - WWWWW

Ones to watch

Melbourne Storm - Suliasi Vunivalu

He may be switching codes and joining the Queensland Reds in Super Rugby next year, but Vunivalu still has lots to give for the storm.

The Fijian played an important part last weekend in the club's 50-6 demolishing of the NZ Warriors, scoring a treble within only 60 minutes.

The 24-year-old was also on the scoresheet back in Round 5 against the Newcastle Knights with a single try.

Sydney Roosters - Brett Morris

Despite being winless in their first two games of the season, the Roosters have won each match since then, with Brett Morris playing a large part.

The 33-year-old scored a treble against the St. George Illawarra Dragons last weekend and has been on the scoresheet in each of their games since the league resumed.

If the Roosters are to win on Thursday, then the veteran winger could be influential. 

Where to watch on TV and Stream

The game is set to kick off at 10:50BST/17:50ACT and will be available to watch worldwide

For viewers in Australia, Fox League have coverage of Thursday's game

For those in the United Kingdom, the game is available to watch on Sky Sports Arena.

For international viewers, Watch NRL will be broadcasting the game

Last meeting

The two last met in last year's NRL preliminary final, and despite the Storm having won the minor premiership, the Roosters were victorious and went on to win the premiership.

That game resulted in in a close 16-4 at the Sydney Cricket Ground, will it be a similar match on Thursday?

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