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NRL first preliminary final preview & tips – Storm vs Sharks

Ladder position:
Melbourne Storm: 2nd
Cronulla Sharks: 4th

Premiership Odds:
Melbourne Storm: $2.70 — Can the Melbourne Storm go back-to-back?
Cronulla Sharks: $8

Latest Match Result:
Melbourne Storm: Win over South Sydney in Qualifying Final, 29 – 28
Cronulla Sharks: Win over Penrith in Semi Final, 21 – 20

THE combatants of the 2016 NRL Grand Final lock horns on Friday night to determine which team makes it through to the big dance in a week’s time. A sell out crowd is expected at AAMI Park as the Melbourne Storm host the Cronulla Sharks in the opening preliminary final.

The Cronulla Sharks are the outsiders in both this game and in premiership betting markets but a team that possesses their attacking prowess can never be discounted.

Inspirational leader Paul Gallen will be given until game time to prove his fitness after sustaining a nasty shoulder injury during their narrow win over the Panthers last Friday night. It is hard to envision the Sharks mounting a true challenge to the home side if Big Gal is unable to take to the field.

A week off will benefit the premiership favourite Melbourne Storm ideally heading into Friday night.

A much needed rest was given to veteran superstars Billy Slater and Cameron Smith heading into the final two weeks of the NRL campaign, which should ensure the pair are cherry ripe if they are to progress through to a third-straight Grand Final.

Here are our tips for the Melbourne Storm and Cronulla Sharks Preliminary Final clash. Make sure that you find the best bookmaker available to you before placing your bets.

Team line ups

Melbourne Storm

Storm: 1. Billy Slater, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Will Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Brodie Croft, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Tim Glasby, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Joe Stimson, 13. Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14. Kenny Bromwich, 15. Christian Welch, 16. Ryan Hoffman, 17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

Cronulla Sharks

Sharks: 1. Valentine Holmes, 2. Sosaia Feki, 3. Jesse Ramien, 4. Ricky Leutele, 5. Edrick Lee, 6. Matt Moylan, 7. Chad Townsend, 8. Andrew Fifita, 9. Jayden Brailey, 10. Matt Prior, 11. Luke Lewis, 12. Kurt Capewell, 13. Paul Gallen

Interchange: 14. Scott Sorensen, 15. James Segeyaro, 16. Aaron Woods, 17. Jayson Bukuya

Storm vs Sharks try scorer tips

We’re predicting all eyes will be on the fullbacks heading into Friday night.

Billy the Kid has shown flashes of brilliance throughout 2018, but for the most part he’s been down on his usual output. Understandable given he retires at the conclusion of this campaign.

His opposite number 1 Valentine Holmes has been spectacular throughout the season, including a match defining try midway through the first half.

Holmes is $2.37 at Sportsbet to score at anytime on Friday night.

Surprisingly Billy Slater is only slightly longer than those odds. The speedy fullback is at $2.40 at most online bookmakers heading into the preliminary final.

The battle of the fullbacks will go a long way to determining which side progresses through to the 2018 NRL Grand Final.

Melbourne Storm vs. Cronulla Sharks Preliminary Final – who wins?

We hate to rain on Cronulla’s parade heading into another preliminary final but we believe the Shark’s luck has run out.

They limped to the line against a spirited Panthers outfit last Friday night. If Gallan is unable to take his place in the side it leaves yet another gaping whole in an already injury depleted unit.

The Storm will have benefited greatly from the additional week off and get key players back for this clash. In our eyes it’s only a matter of how much when it comes to Melbourne.

Result: Melbourne Storm to win by 13+ – $2.70

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