MATCH UP STATS
Round 5 resultMelbourne Storm: Storm 10 defeated by Tigers 11Cronulla Sharks: Knights 15 defeated Broncos 10
6pm Friday April 13, 2018, at AAMI Park
FRIDAY night footy presents one of the more interesting match ups of the weekend as the Melbourne Storm host the Newcastle Knights at AAMI Park.
We’re just six rounds into the NRL season, but the Melbourne Storm are yet to make their mark on the season.
The Storm suffered a shock defeat at the hands of the Wests Tigers last week by a solitary point. We all knew the Cooper Cronk departure would hit them hard, but they still should be much better than this.
The Newcastle Knights were terrific against the Brisbane Broncos last week, scoring early and holding off a late push from the Brisbanites to secure the 15-10 win.
The Knights go into this match as severe underdogs, but the match up will be much closer than the odds suggest.
The battle of the fullbacks – Storm v Knights
Storm – Billy Slater: The superstar has a point to prove here. After a disappointing start to the season the Knights present as a great bounce back opportunity. For Slater and his teammates, ball security has to be the priority. The Storm had 19 errors last week, which Craig Bellamy said is “not good enough”.
Knights – Kalyn Ponga: Ponga is a gun and was a star of the Knights’ win last week. Against the Broncos the emerging star delivered 223 metres gained and a try assist. A similar performance will see the visiting Knights play a highly competitive game against the reigning premiers.
1 Billy Slater, 2 Suliasi Vunivalu, 3 Young Tonumaipea, 4 Curtis Scott, 5 Josh Addo-Carr, 6 Cameron Munster, 7 Ryley Jacks, 8 Jesse Bromwich, 9 Cameron Smith (c), 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona, 11 Felise Kaufusi, 12 Ryan Hoffman, 13 Kenny Bromwich,
Interchange: 14 Joe Stimson, 15 Tim Glasby, 16 Christian Welch, 17 Sam Kasiano
1 Kalyn Ponga, 2 Shaun Kenny-Dowall, 3 Sione Mata’utia, 4 Nathan Ross, 5 Ken Sio, 6 Brock Lamb, 7 Mitchell Pearce (c), 8 Daniel Saifit, 9 Slade Griffin, 10 Jacob Lillyman, 11 Lachlan Fitzgibbon, 12 Aidan Guerra, 13 Herman Ese’ese
Interchange: 14 Danny Levi, 15 Chris Heighington, 16 Jamie Buhrer (c), 17 Jacob Saifiti
Storm v Knights – who wins?
Newcastle will take plenty of confidence into this game, but we’re favouring the Storm.
The home side has dominated the visiting Knights since their inception, conceding just two games from their ten match-ups, the last of which was a 40-12 rout in round 13. The Storm would also go on to record another powerful win over their Friday night opponents, winning 44-12 towards the tail end of the home and away season.
If the Storm can improve their offensive conversion they will be incredibly hard to beat against a side that concedes just under 25 points a game in 2018.
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