Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights
AAMI Park, 4:00pm.
Storm: Billy Slater, Matt Duffie, Dane Nielsen, Beau Champion, Anthony Quinn, Maurice Blair, Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith (c), Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Sika Manu, Todd Lowrie. Interchange (from): Ryan Hinchcliffe, Rory Kostjasyn, Adam Woolnough, Jaiman Lowe, Troy Thompson, Sisa Waqa
Knights: Kurt Gidley (c), James McManus, Junior Sa’u, Adam MacDougall, Akuila Uate, Ryan Stig, Jarrod Mullen, Evarn Tuimavave, Isaac De Gois, Antonio Kaufusi, Chris Houston, Neville Costigan, Joel Edwards. Interchange: Steve Southern, Zane Tetevano, Richie Fa’aoso, Mark Taufua
THE KNIGHTS HAVE NEVER WON AT AAMI PARK and all signs are pointing towards a Storm victory. The Knights have shown throughout 2011 that they are capable of racking up some points against opposition sides and compared to the minor premiers the Melbourne Storm, the Knights only score on average 1.8 points less per game. It’s the Storm’s defence that will get them across the line so to speak. The game will be played out on the edges when it comes to points scored and newcasle will have their work cut out for them if they are going to halt some Craig Bellamy manufactured set pieces.
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Billy Slater goes into the game right after winning the Dally M player of the year award and his confidence will be soaring. Billy Slater + confidence = Danger.
Cameron Smith will be keeping the team steadily rolling up the middle, preparing and positioning his team in each set before leaving the entertaining stuff to Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater.
Neville Costigan has been playing out of his skin in recent weeks and he knows what finals footy is all about. He will be playing out of his skin and his efforts will go along way to keeping the rest of his troops motivated.
Head to Head: Storm $1.28, Knights $3.75
Line Betting: Storm (-10.5) $1.91, Knights (+10.5) $1.91
There isn’t much value with the 10.5 line on offer. Melbourne could be ahead by 12 before deciding to shut the game down as they do so well. This could see the result swing either side of the line.
The attacking raids are going to come early off the back of sweeping backline movements so if you fancy a dabble on some exotics, look to the Storm wingers Duffie and Quinn along with the Newcastle flyer Akuila Uate as first tryscorers.
Mike’s Best Bet: None
Starting Bank: $2000, Current Bank $2627.69
(Team lists sourced from nrl.com.au)