St George Illawarra Dragons – $2.70 at Sportsbet
Melbourne Storm – $1.50 at Ladbrokes
Both sides of Thursday’s NRL fixture in Wollongong may be wishing they had drawn the bye this week.
Although the St George Illawarra Dragons are sitting a game and percentage outside the top eight, they have no fewer than five players away for next Wednesday’s State of Origin decider.
Those stars have helped turn things around for the Red V, who have picked up four points in three games after going five rounds without a win.
Not to be outdone, the Melbourne Storm will have half a dozen of their finest lining up for New South Wales and Queensland in Sydney on July 10.
The league leaders made it six wins on the bounce in Adelaide last Friday, which gives them a six-point buffer over the Roosters and the Rabbitohs.
St George Illawarra Round 16 team news
Jai Field and Darren Nicholls replace Queensland pair Ben Hunt and Corey Norman in the halves, while Jeremy Latimore, Blake Lawrie and Korbin Sims step up to the starting 13 for NSW reps Tyson Frizell, Tariq Sims and Paul Vaughan. Mitchell Allgood and Josh Kerr fill out the bench alongside Patrick Kaufusi on his club debut. Timoteo Lafai is back from injury, which sees Lachlan Maranta make way in the centres.
Out: Lachlan Maranta (omitted), Tyson Frizell, Ben Hunt, Corey Norman, Tariq Sims, Paul Vaughan (all Origin)
In: Mitchell Allgood, Jai Field, Patrick Kaufusi, Josh Kerr, Timoteo Lafai, Darren Nicholls
Melbourne Storm Round 16 team news
Sandor Earl steps in for Josh Addo-Carr on the wing, new arrival Solomone Kata covers Will Chambers in the centre and debutante Billy Walters takes over from Cam Munster at five-eighth. Jahrome Hughes returns at fullback, which sees Ryan Papenhuyzen drop to the bench. Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Brandon Smith and Joe Stimson move into the starting lineup with Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi and Christian Welch away on Origin duty, while Tino Faasuamaleaui and Albert Vete complete the interchange.
Out: Josh Addo-Carr, Will Chambers, Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster, Christian Welch (all Origin)
In: Sandor Earl, Tino Faasuamaleaui, Jahrome Hughes, Solomone Kata, Albert Vete, Billy Walters
Dragons vs Storm NRL tryscorer betting tips
Mikaele Ravalawa – SGI’s back half is missing a heap of regulars, which leaves Ravalawa as the best bet to find the line. The Fijian has scored three tries in as many games, so the form is there.
Suliasi Vunivalu – With JAC away for Origin III, Vunivalu will be the Storm’s key attacking outlet. The 23-year-old winger has found his tryscoring touch in recent weeks and will add to his tally on Thursday.
St George Illawarra vs Melbourne NRL stats
- The Storm boast a +190 points differential – 99 better than second-placed Souths (+91)
- Melbourne halfback Brodie Croft leads the competition with 244 support plays
- The Dragons rank third in the NRL for kick metres (8,473), field goals (3) and intercepts (7)
- The Red V are also second in the league for ineffective tackles with 254
Dragons vs Storm NRL Round 16 betting predictions
Both sides will have their depth tested this week, but it is hard to see the Dragons winning with so many stars unavailable. The Storm are used to grinding out results during the rep rounds and will do it again at WIN Stadium.
Melbourne Storm by 1-12 points – $3 at Sportsbet
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