The following are previews with betting tips for the Grand Final of the 2018 NRL season between the Sydney Roosters and the Melbourne Storm.
Roosters v Storm
Sun, Sep 30, 7:20pm
Melbourne have the opportunity to become the first team in the NRL-era to win back-to-back competitions this Sunday night against the Roosters, whose premiership tilt looks to be in jeopardy with an injury cloud hanging over superstar halfback Cooper Cronk.
The Storm were clinical against the Sharks last week with rookie Brodie Croft once again stepping up to fill the void left by Cronk this season. Meanwhile, the tri-colours confirmed their status as the best defensive team in the competition after they managed to hold the Rabbitohs try-less for 80 minutes without key personnel in their preliminary final victory last week.
Melbourne fans breathed a sigh of relief after Billy Slater successfully challenged a shoulder-charge conviction with the NRL judiciary on Tuesday night, giving Craig Bellamy the luxury of naming an unchanged squad. For the Roosters, utility Mitchell Aubusson has been named at halfback with Cooper Cronk unlikely to overcome his shoulder injury. In some positive news for the club, Origin stars Latrell Mitchell and Dylan Napa will return to the side as rookie Paul Momirovski retains his spot on the interchange.
Each club has adapted superbly to recent rule-changes and balance defensive discipline with expansive attack very effectively. There is also a wealth of finals experience in both teams so this should be a high quality game.
Boasting the top-two defensive records in the competition, the Storm and Roosters will be confident of defending any mistakes but should be wary of stifling their attack with an overly-cautious mindset. Cooper Cronk’s injury will be a big factor in the outcome of the game and expect Craig Bellamy to establish a game-plan to take advantage of his absence. While the Roosters will be boosted by the return of key players, expect Melbourne to send Billy Slater out as a winner to become the first team to defend a premiership since 1993.
Betting Tip: Storm -2.5 @ $2.00 (Neds)
Storm -2.5 @ $2.00 (Neds)