Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders, teams, scores, updates, live blog, Jack Wighton, Matthew Timoko try, get by with Cameron Munster
Jack Wighton knows how to stand tall in big moments and he did so early in the first half as the Canberra Raiders took a 4-0 lead against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday.
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7TH MINUTE: Timoko crushes Munster to score
The Raiders had just 20% of the ball after five minutes after being forced to defend several sets down their own line.
But then Joseph Tapine unloaded for Wighton who exploded through the middle, beating several Storm defenders before moving on to Xavier Savage who linked up with Matthew Timoko.
The Canberra cross then fearlessly fended off Cameron Munster to race into the corner and score the game’s first try.
“The class gets up and it’s Jack Wighton in midfield…what a moment, what a Green Machine start and it’s Timoko getting a try in the semis,” Michael Ennis said in a commentary for fox league.
“Tapine is on another level right now. He is so dominating.
“Melbourne are looking a bit off,” added Dan Ginnane after Melbourne failed to put points on the board early.
“Wighton looks deadly.”
Craig Bellamy’s Storm takes on in-form Canberra Raiders for a sudden-death clash at AAMI Park.
The veteran coach has moved Tui Kamikamica and Brandon Smith to the starting squad in place of Josh King and Felise Kaufusi, while Jahrome Hughes’ return from a calf injury has been confirmed.
Nick Meaney was officially named full back, but as expected Cameron Munster returned there to start the game.
Ricky Stuart’s side have won their last four games, including a 56-10 rout of the struggling Tigers without key players Jack Wighton and Elliott Whitehead.
The National Capital team completed a stunning charge to the finals and are one of the best teams in the competition to enter this contest.
The Raiders’ power brokers have reportedly begged NRL officials to schedule their final clash on Sunday, hoping to extend their deadline by six days.
Meanwhile, Melbourne have had nine days to rest and prepare for this crucial clash after an injury-filled season.
Bellamy is without Ryan Papenhuyzen, Christian Welch and George Jennings, while Hughes is out with a calf injury.
The Storms are still favorites to advance to the next week of finals, with marquee man Cameron Munster a key man to close for the Raiders.
Canberra have won four games in a row at AAMI Park and are looking to become the first team to win five in a row against the Storm in Melbourne.
The Storm haven’t beaten Canberra in Melbourne since 2018, but three of the four defeats since have been by four points or less.
A loss in that game would also see Melbourne have two separate three-game losing streaks in the same season for the first time under Bellamy and only the third time in its history (2000 and 2002).
Storm: 1. Nick Meaney 2. David Nofoaluma 3. Marion Seve 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 15. Tui Kamikamica 12. Kenny Bromwich 14. Brandon Smith 13. Josh King 11. Felise Kaufusi 16. Trent Loiero 17. Chris Lewis 18. Young Tonumaipea 19. Jordan Grant
Raiders: 1. Xavier Savage 2. Nick Cotric 3. Matthew Timoko 4. Sebastian Kris 5. Jordan Rapana 6. Jack Wighton 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Josh Papali’i 9. Zac Woolford 10. Joseph Tapine 11. Hudson Young 12. Elliott Whitehead 13. Adam Elliott 14. Tom Starling 15. Emre Guler 16. Corey Horsburgh 17. Corey Harawira-Naera 18. Albert Hopoate
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