Cronulla Sharks – $3 at Sportsbet
Melbourne Storm – $1.38
The Cronulla Sharks have a fair bit of work to do to convince the NRL community of their finals credentials.
Injuries have taken their toll and the boys from the Shire now sit outside the top eight after a heavy defeat away to Brisbane in round seven.
Star winger Sione Katoa missed the trip north, but he returns this week in place of Ronaldo Mulitalo.
Kyle Flanagan steps in for the hamstrung Shaun Johnson at five-eighth, while Briton Nikora is back on the second row after serving a suspension.
They face a Melbourne Storm side that only just dodged disaster last time out.
Fresh off a narrow loss to Sydney, the 2018 runners-up needed a late field goal from Brodie Croft to steal a 13-12 win over New Zealand.
Storm boss Craig Bellamy has made only one change to his starting lineup, with Nelson Asofa-Solomona named in the 13 and Christian Welch on the bench.
However, those two could switch places by the time kick-off rolls around on Friday night.
Sharks vs Storm first tryscorer tips
First tryscorer – $12
Two or more tries – $10
Anytime tryscorer – $2.50
The Sharks have missed Katoa’s agility and acceleration on the outside in the last couple of weeks. He had three tries before losing his spot in round five and looks the most dangerous of the Cronulla backs.
First tryscorer – $7
Two or more tries – $4.33
Anytime tryscorer – $1.62
Josh-Addo Carr or Suliasi Vunivalu? That is ever the question when the Storm play. Suli has not troubled the scorers since his hat-trick against Canberra in round two, so he is long overdue for a big night out.
Key stats and betting trends
- Cronulla have won two out of three matches at PointsBet Stadium this season
- The Sharks have conceded 20 points or more in each of their last four games
- Melbourne’s golden-point loss to Sydney remains their only defeat this year
- The Storm are giving up 12.6 points a game on average – the best record in the comp
Best bets for Cronulla vs Melbourne
There is a real danger this season could slip away from Cronulla in the next few weeks.
The injury problems at Shark Park are spiralling out of control, leaving the club’s young talent exposed and heaping pressure on the older heads.
They will be glad for a home game after last week’s disaster in Brisbane, but one could argue there is no worse time to face the Storm.
Melbourne very rarely deliver two ordinary performances in a row, so the odds of another one are sky high.
The Storm’s defence is too good and their attack can only get better, so look for the visitors to claim a comfortable win.
Melbourne Storm by 13+ points – $2.40 at Sportsbet
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