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Broncos v Storm: Big guns return; Grant, Hughes to play

Eight days on from meeting in the final round of the regular season, the Broncos and Storm clash again for the right secure direct qualification to the preliminary final.

While the Storm got up for a 32-22 victory last Thursday at Suncorp Stadium, for a win which lifted them past the Warriors into third spot, that can’t be used too much as a yardstick given both sides will look vastly different as they welcome back the stars they opted to rest in Round 27.

The game will be Brisbane’s first finals appearance since 2018, while for the Storm it’s a case of business as usual as they prepare to play in the post season for the 13th year in a row and do so as a top-four side for the seventh time in the past eight seasons.

While it’s remained a good rivalry throughout, since 2017 games between these two clubs have been one-way traffic with the Storm winning 14 on the trot against Brisbane.

The Broncos will also get little comfort from being at home this week, with 14 years having now passed since their last win over the Storm at Suncorp Stadium. Melbourne meanwhile have enjoyed wins at the venue in four of their past seven visits

Team News
No changes expected. Captain Adam Reynolds (calf) and lock Patrick Carrigan (foot) are both set to return in a boost for the home side, alongside the contingent of stars held back from playing in Round 27. Despite being charged with three separate offences last week, Brendan Piakura is good to go after each charge drew a monetary fine, rather than a risk of suspension. Corey Oates remains the 18th Man with Jesse Arthars preferred on the wing.

Storm: On Thursday coach Craig Bellamy declared Jahrome Hughes (knee) and Harry Grant (shoulder) good to go, in what is a huge boost for the Storm. Ryan Papenhuyzen has been named on the bench and could spend time in the backline or as a middle forward. Reimis Smith remains in the squad as 19th Man with Marion Seve and Young Tonumaipe'a instead listed as the centres.

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