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Melbourne Storm vs Parra Eels, Friday night footy, August 17

Ladder Position:
Melbourne Storm: 3rd
Parramatta Eels: 15th

Premiership Odds:
Melbourne Storm: $4.25
Paramatta Eels: $5001

Form Guide:
Melbourne Storm: 3-2
Parramatta Eels: 3-2

Round 22 Result:
Melbourne Storm: Lost to Cronulla Sharks, 14 – 17
Parramatta Eels: Won against St George Dragons, 40 – 4

Friday, August 17 at AAMI Park. Kick off from 7.50pm

Only one of the team’s clashing in this contest will play a role in September this season, but the Melbourne Storm would want to get their act together if they are to defend last year’s premiership.

For the first time in recent memory the Storm have lost back-to-back games in August. Last week’s loss to the Sharks was particularly stinging for the home side as they could have leveled up on points alongside the second placed South Sydney.

Ostensibly the Friday night clash against the Parramatta Eels looms as a winnable match, but the ladder positions belie just how good the 15th placed Parra have been.

The Eels are fresh off a stunning 40-4 win against St George, which was the third win from their last four contests. The Storm would be silly to think this game will be a walkover heading into Friday night.

Team line ups

Melbourne Storm

1. Billy Slater, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. William Chambers, 4. Curtis Scott, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes, 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith (c), 10. Nelson Asofa Solomona, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Joe Stimson, 13. Dale Finucane

Interchange: 14. Cheyse Blair, 15. Tim Glasby, 16. Christian Welch, 17. Kenny Bromwich

Parramatta Eels

1. Corey Norman, 2. Jarryd Hayne, 3. Michael Jennings, 4. Clint Gutherson (c), 5. George Jennings, 6. Jaeman Salmon, 7. Mitch Moses, 8. Peni Terepo, 9. Reed Mahoney, 10. Tim Mannah (c), 11. Marata Niukore, 12. Tepai Moeroa, 13. Nathan Brown

Interchange: 14. Oregon Kaufusi, 15. Brad Takairangi, 16. David Gower, 17. Siosaia Vave

Players to watch

Melbourne – Billy Slater

Every game from here on in will be a must-watch for the soon-to-be retired Billy Slater.

The man they call Billy the kid threatened to snatch the game away from the Sharks last week but his teammates just couldn’t match his intensity towards the end of the match. Look for Slater to have a big impact in what looms as an important game in the Storm’s premiership defence.

Parramatta – Jarryd Hayne

After a disappointing opening half to the season the Hayne Plane has launched into flight, culminating in a opening half hat-trick at the St George Dragons last week. Hayne is arguably playing for his career as the season comes to a close and a follow up performance to his man of the match display wouldn’t hurt his chances in the slightest.

Storm vs Eels – Who wins?

If the Storm are to be major plays come finals time this is a game that simply cannot afford to drop.

While the Eels have been in great form recently, they are 15th on the ladder for a reason. We would have said last week that back-to-back losses for the Storm won’t happen, but a third-straight defeat almost certainly will not.

Craig Bellamy will have his men up and firing for this one, in a match that we believe will see the Storm continue to pressure the second placed Bunnies for top-two honours.

Result: Melbourne Storm – $1.22

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