Which team will be more resilient heading into Saturday’s encounter?
This game is missing a wealth of talent due to State Of Origin commitments which has robbed the match of its box office appeal.
That aside it should still be a stirring contest as the depth of the Storm and Cowboys will be tested.
Melbourne go into this having scored an upset of sorts over Cronulla at Shark Park without the services of Cooper Cronk while the Cowboys easily handled the Eels in Darwin, welcoming back Johnathan Thurston on a successful note.
NO COOPER, NO WORRIES
Coach Craig Bellamy may have pulled a masterstroke by resting Cooper Cronk last week.
By throwing Ryley Jacks into the halves with Cameron Munster, the pair were able to get some valuable game time together on the field which will definitely help them out here.
The difference this week is that they won’t have Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Will Chambers in the backline while Cheyse Blair and Jordan McLean are also unavailable.
NORTH QUEENSLAND may well be ruing their luck.
Their victory against Parramatta gave them back-to-back wins for just the third time season and broke a sequence of Wins and Losses which stretched back six weeks.
They face an uphill battle without Thurston, who returned from injury last week, as well as barnstorming forward Coen Hess, Gavin Cooper and Michael Morgan.
The Cowboys have lost three straight games MELBOURNE which is their worst run against the Storm since 2010. Six years ago, North Queensland had endured a run of eight consecutive losses at the hands of the southerners before breaking the drought with a 28-point win at 1300Smiles Stadium.
When looking at games played at AAMI Park, the teams have traded wins and losses in their past five encounters with their last game at the venue being the Quarter Finals last year where Melbourne were six point winners.
Overall Melbourne has won 23 of 33 games since 1998.
This is really difficult to dissect because of the people that are missing.
We are going for the home field advantage and tipping Melbourne ($1.73 @ Unibet) simply because we think they will handle the loss of their Origin stars far better than the Cowboys.
We like that sly move from Bellamy last week to rest Cronk and that experience Jacks and Munster would’ve derived from that match against the premiers is likely to be telling here.
Matches between the sides have historically been close with an average winning margin of 7.33 points in the past six encounters. If you like having a crack at the Margins, take the Storm 1-12 which is returning $2.90 at Will Hill.
MELBOURNE 1-12 WINNING MARGIN