In a slightly questionable fixturing mishap by the NRL, two of the league’s heavyweights will go toe to toe without their superstar players.
Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Cheyse Blair, Jordan McLean, Will Chambers and Tim Glasby will all be sidelined for the Storm through injury or Origin duty while Coen Hess, Johnathan Thurston, Gavin Cooper and Michael Morgan will be representing the Maroons next week, meaning they won’t make the trip down south.
The absentees for the Storm means Young Tonumaipea will fill Billy Slater’s role at fullback with youngster Curtis Scott and Tohu Harris donning the three and four jerseys.
Ryley Jacks gets the start at halfback alongside Cameron Munster, with Slade Griffin playing at hooker.
The Storm’s forward pack is still very strong, with the Bromwich brothers, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Felise Kaufusi heading that line in what will go a long way to extending their lead atop the NRL ladder as they’ll run into Jason Taumalolo, Ethan Lowe and Scott Bolton, who are a reasonable trio in their own right.
Kyle Laybutt will assume five-eighth responsibilities alongside Ray Thompson in the halves. Expect John Asiata to be given more of a green light with the ball in hand as well.
The Storm are favourites with the bookies and you can expect Cameron Munster to have a big game as he continues to excel in his new role in the halves however the slightly more stable Cowboys will certainly be knocking on the door.
Storm by 4.