This is Parramatta’s game for the taking.
Melbourne are seriously Origin affected and adding to that is they could be without a few more players thanks to injury. Parra on the other hand are fielding a similar squad to the one that beat Canterbury last week.
The Storm could be without up to 10 regulars so this is Parramatta’s chance to score a rare win over Melbourne and add a further two competition points to their tally which will help them in the fight to make the top eight. At present, they sit in the eighth and final spot with nine rounds remaining in the NRL premiership.
The Eels will carry a fair bit of momentum into the game having won four of their past five games while includes their Golden Point 13-12 win over heated rivals the Bulldogs.
Melbourne were simply brilliant last week in dismantling the Brisbane Broncos at Suncorp and putting 42 points on the home side, highlighting just why they are favourites to win the comp.
PARRAMATTA were entitled to fold up and die in the second half of their match with Canterbury last week.
Copping an absolute battering from the referees and the Bulldogs themselves, Parramatta went from coasting in the first half to having to pull one out of the fire in Golden Point.
Their desire and will to win was there for all to see and that is what got them through in the end.
Parramatta has proven to be one of the better sides in the competition on their day and are on track to return to finals footy for the first time since 2009. They are short enough at $1.40 (Luxbet, Sportsbet) but should get there.
CALL IN THE REINFORCEMENTS
Craig Bellamy will be forced to field a side that is nearly unrecognisable this week.
With Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk, Cameron Smith, Will Chambers, Cameron Munster and Tim Glasby all on Origin duty, Bellamy has been forced to call in a number of replacements for this game.
Much will depend on the young halves pairing of Ryley Jacks and Brodie Croft while internationals Jesse Bromwich and Tohu Harris have to lead from the front if they are to get anything out of this game.
Former Sea Eagle Nate Myles has also been named on the bench for the Storm in what could be his first match since leaving Manly a few weeks ago.
It isn’t all doom and gloom for Melbourne though as they did win their last game before Origin II which was a Golden Point win over North Queensland who were also Origin affected that day.
As is the case with a number of teams, Parramatta has consistently struggled against the Melbourne Storm over the past decade.
The Victorians are winners in four of the past five clashes, however, the last three contests have been won by the away team.
Parramatta’s win at AAMI Park in 2015 was their first and only win at the venue having suffered three heavy defeats there previously.
Margin bettors would be keen to know that there has been an average winning margin of 24 points in the past five clashes, so the 13+ could be the way to go if history is anything to go by.
Parramatta simply have to win this game.
They are in form and are setting to get on a roll. Unlike Melbourne, who have the luxury of leading the competition by four points, Parramatta are in the top eight but can’t rest on their laurels as they have three teams on 16 points chasing them.
This is an infinitely easier Melbourne team that they would normally face so Brad Arthur’s men have to take advantage of this situation if they want to play finals footy.
Don’t complete discount the Storm though as they showed that without several key players after Origin II that they could still match one of the better sides in the Sydney Roosters.
Another display of that nature here could be enough to stifle the Blue and Golds.