NRL 2023 Finals Preview: Melbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters

Two of the most successful clubs of the modern era meet for the fifth time in finals footy with a Preliminary Final against Penrith awaiting the winner.

Who wins out of the Melbourne Storm and Sydney Roosters?

Read our preview below:

1st Semi-Final

Melbourne Storm (3rd) v Sydney Roosters (7th)
AAMI Park, Melbourne - 7:50pm AEST

The Roosters were sitting in 14th in Round 22 and were all but out of the finals race. However, they have ground out seven straight wins including a thrilling 13-12 victory over the Cronulla Sharks in an epic Elimination Final. The win came at a cost with injuries to Billy Smith, Joseph Suaalii and Joey Manu.

The Storm enter this match following a poor showing against the Brisbane Broncos and also lost key troops in Xavier Coates and Ryan Papenhuyzen. Melbourne put up one of their worst performances in the club's history and failed to score a point for the first time in finals since the 2008 Grand Final.

Neither side has played their best football in 2023 which means the result of this match is unpredictable.

Last 5 games

L v Broncos 26-0
W v Broncos 32-22
W v Titans 37-16
W v Dragons 38-28
W v Raiders 48-2

W v Sharks 13-12
W v Rabbitohs 26-12
W v Tigers v 32-8
W v Eels 34-12
W v Dolphins 30-14

Last 3 meetings

Roosters def by Storm 16-30
Storm def Roosters 28-8
Storm def by Roosters 14-18

Why the Storm will win

Last week, the Storm played arguably their worst match under Craig Bellamy since the 2008 Grand Final where they were thrashed 40-0. The team completed only 67% of their sets, missed 57 tackles, conceded 10 penalties and their spine of Grant, Munster, Hughes and Meaney looked as if they had never played together.

The reaction post-match against the Broncos was clear; the entire team were embarrassed and Munster described their performance as "putrid". The Storm have won 76% of games at home and averaged over 26 points per game since 2015. In a do-or-die final in front of their home crowd for the last time this year, the spine will have no choice but to fire.

Why the Roosters will win

Sydney's forward pack in recent weeks has out performed some of the best packs in the competition and was a big reason why the Roosters have turned their season around and outlasted the Sharks in the Elimination Final.

Lindsay Collins has been sensational in 2023 off the back of a terrific State of Origin campaign, Nat Butcher continues to be one of the most underrated players in the competition and Siua Wong has been a revelation in the last few weeks of the season. Melbourne's pack has been underperforming in recent weeks and if the Roosters are to extend their miracle late season charge, they will have to dominate the middle.

Key Player

Brandon Smith

The former Melbourne hooker has made inflammatory comments in the lead-up to the Semi Final, agreeing with his former Storm teammates that their performance in the Qualifying Final was putrid. He also made comments when leaving the club for Bondi, expressing his desire to win a premiership with the Roosters.

It will also be an intriguing battle against Harry Grant who forced Smith's way out of the club. Smith has had a poor year up until the last few weeks and if he were to be a major factor in the Chooks winning this game, all will be forgiven by Roosters fans.

Key Stat

The Roosters and Storm have played in four finals matches and Sydney have won three of them. This includes the 2019 Preliminary Final and the 2018 Grand Final.


Storm by 16 points
First Try: Josh King (Melbourne)
Player of the Match: Harry Grant (Melbourne)

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