The Storm will be looking to continue their recent dominance of the Broncos in Friday’s Preliminary Final.
There aren’t too many teams that have winning records against Brisbane but Melbourne is one of them. Remarkably, Brisbane has only tasted success against Melbourne twice in the past 14 encounters.
History alone suggests Melbourne will win this Preliminary Final and book their spot in next weeks’ NRL Grand Final.
Brisbane heads into the game as rank outsiders but will have some confidence after a strong defensive display in disposing of Penrith 13-6 at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night.
Melbourne, fresh from the week off, will charge into this game having enjoyed some rest after beating Parramatta 18-16 in Week 1.
GET THE POINT
The key to a BRISBANE win at AAMI Park on Friday will be how many points they score.
While that sounds obvious there has been a recent trend with them struggling for points against Melbourne that has led them to dropping four of the past five clashes.
In their two defeats to the Storm this season they have managed just 12 points each time.
The other two defeats saw them score six and eight points respectively but their only win during this five-game span, which came about in Round 25 last year, saw them win 26-16 at this venue.
In fact, if you go back to 2009 it seems as Melbourne is Brisbane’s kryptonite because they have only scored over 12 points on six occasions.
On the flip side, Melbourne has topped 30 points on seven occasions during that same span.
One of the key’s to MELBOURNE’s success in 2017 has been the dominance of their forwards.
When they have won the battle of the packs they have generally gone on to win and win big! A look at the past month tells that story down to a tee.
In the Qualifying Final, Parramatta came to play and roughed up the Storm and very nearly pulled off the upset but ultimately fell two points short. That was Melbourne’s narrowest win since beating the Cowboys in Round 15.
Prior to that the Storm had completely rolled over the Knights, Rabbitohs and Raiders to rack up an impressive 38.66 average winning margin across those three games.
So essentially if Brisbane hope to cause a huge upset here then they need to win the battle of the big men.
As mentioned earlier this has really been all one way traffic for MELBOURNE.
Their 12 wins from the past 14 clashes is easily the best record any team has over Brisbane but what has been more impressive is the manner in which a large portion of those come up.
Six of those wins have been by 20 points or more while three of them have been by at least 30 points or more.
Those wanting to have a crack at the tryscoring markets should look to the likes of Josh Addo-Carr, Suliasi Vunivalu and Ben Hunt.
While the two Storm wingers have been a godsend for punters, especially in the First Tryscorer stakes where they have scored the opener eight times between them in 2017.
Hunt, although on the receiving end of defeats to the Storm twice this season, has still managed to register two tries against them in those matches where Brisbane were held to just 12 points on both occasions.
The makeshift hooker is $5.50 @ Centrebet to score at anytime.
The way we see it this is MELBOURNE’s game to lose.
Craig Bellamy’s side is at full strength, playing at home and have had the week off. All those ingredients suggest the Storm will be featuring in the NRL Grand Final for a second consecutive year.
They have been the standout team all season and boasted the best attack and defence through 26 rounds, conceding just 14 points per game in the process. Brisbane are likely going to have to score more than that to win.
One of the big positives for Wayne Bennett’s side is the return to fullback of Darius Boyd. His experience in big games has been sorely lacking over the past few weeks and his inclusion gives the Broncos a chance.
If they can repeat their defensive display against Penrith here then Brisbane are worth having a crack at, however, we are more than willing to take the shorts about a Storm side that has looked a cut above for the entire campaign.
SULIASI VUNIVALU FIRST TRYSCORER