Sunday’s (12/07/2015) first NRL 2015 Round 18 match is between New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm. The opening bounce is set to commence at 14:05 local time with the game to be played at Eden Park. The home team New Zealand Warriors are the favourites for the match. View our preview and teams for the game between New Zealand Warriors and Melbourne Storm.
When: 14:05 | Sunday 12/07/2015
Where: Eden Park
Tip: New Zealand Warriors at $1.62
Value Tip: First Tryscorer: Solomone Kata at $10.00
1 Sam Tomkins, 2 Tuimoala Lolohea, 3 Konrad Hurrell, 4 Solomone Kata, 5 Manu Vatuvei, 6 Chad Townsend, 7 Shaun Johnson, 8 Jacob Lillyman, 9 Nathan Friend, 10 Ben Matulino, 11 Bodene Thompson, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Simon Mannering (c). Interchange: 14 Siliva Havili, 15 Raymond Faitala-Mariner, 16 Charlie Gubb, 17 Albert Vete, 18 David Fusitu’a;
1 Cameron Munster 2 Marika Koroibete 3 Will Chambers 4 Hymel Hunt 5 Richard Kennar 6 Blake Green 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Cameron Smith (c) 10 Tim Glasby 11 Kevin Proctor 12 Tohu Harris 13 Dale Finucane. Interchange: 14 Ryan Hinchcliffe 15 Kenny Bromwich 16 Ben Hampton 17 Felise Kaufusi.
Melbourne have defended Cameron Smith after Alex McKinnon described as “disgusting” the Storm captain’s on-field comments about the incident that ended his NRL career.
Former Newcastle forward McKinnon suffered a severe spinal injury after landing head first in a three-man tackle when playing against Melbourne in March last year.
Speaking to Channel Nine’s 60 Minutes program, which airs on Sunday night, McKinnon has described Smith’s on-field actions after the tackle as “f***ing ridiculous”.
He believed comments Smith made on the field at the time implied that he was somewhat to blame for the injury.
“If he doesn’t duck his head, that doesn’t happen,” Smith was heard telling referees.
McKinnon said he was still angry with Smith and said he had not heard from him since the incident.
Melbourne on Sunday released a statement saying Smith had no idea of the extent of McKinnon’s injury when on the field and had attempted to contact the injured player several times afterwards.
The Storm also pointed out that Smith had helped launch the Rise for Alex fundraising NRL round last year and that Melbourne had raised $20,000 for McKinnon on that match day alone.
Smith refused to comment at Queensland training on the Gold Coast on Sunday ahead of Wednesday night’s State of Origin decider in Brisbane.
“At the time of this tragic accident, no one on the field had any idea of the severity of the injury Alex had suffered,” the Storm statement said.
“All at Storm and especially the playing group were shocked and horrified to learn of Alex’s injuries in the days after the event.
“Storm players led by captain Cameron Smith requested to visit Alex in hospital numerous times while he was in Melbourne.
“The requests were declined, which was totally understandable given Alex needed to focus on the initial stages of his recovery.
“Storm’s football director continued to liaise with his Newcastle equivalent regarding the right time for club players to contact Alex in the weeks and months after the incident.”
Storm said Smith tried to support McKinnon by launching the Rise for Alex campaign with NSW counterpart Paul Gallen last year.
“Cameron Smith was proud to launch the #riseforalex round last year alongside Paul Gallen, as well as to wear Alex’s jersey number at Storm’s game in Melbourne in the same round,” it said.
“Storm’s fans raised more than $20,000 for Alex that day alone.”
*Odds correct at time of posting. Subject to change