The Melbourne Storm are the new NRL premiership favourites following their last-gasp win over the Rabbitohs on Friday night.
The home side left it until the last moment to secure the win over the visiting Bunnies, gaining a much-needed week off and an AAMI Park preliminary final.
The defending champions are $3 to win the 2018 premiership.
The Sydney Roosters are on the next line of betting at the $3.20 quote while South Sydney is the only other team in single figures.
It’s been a war of attrition for almost every team following the first week of the finals.
Shock Sunday winners the St George Dragons were the hardest hit, with star Gareth Widdop more than likely out for the remainder of the season with a re-injured shoulder while injured forward Jack de Belin has declared himself a ’50 percent chance’ of lining up next week against South Sydney.
After having an injury riddled season however, the Storm loom as the healthiest team heading into the latter stages of the campaign.
Cameron Munster, Suliasi Vunivalu, Brodie Croft and Brandon Smith all returned on Friday night and Will Chambers (suspension) and gun prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona (ankle) are both set to be available in a fortnight’s time.
Storm lock Dale Finucane thinks his side could have its best possible team available for the preliminary final against either the Sharks or Panthers on September 21.
“I think we will have our strongest 17 available now with Will Chambers available for selection and Nelson available after injury as well,” Finucane said.
“Having the strongest team on the paddock is beneficial for the team.”
The lock believes having their best available side gives them a multitude of options at the end of games.
With most teams having just one go-to option for drop goals late in a match, the Storm have displayed throughout the year that
Cam Smith kicked the winner against the Roosters earlier this season, young halfback Brodie Croft kicked a game-winner while filling in for Cronk during last year’s State of Origin series and Cameron Munster booted the winner in Friday’s win over Souths.
Finucane believes it can give his side an edge heading towards the grand final.
“It’s all pretty unknown now,” he said.
“It’s good that other teams can’t attack one player as they don’t know who will kick the ball, it is a pleasing thing we have three decent options to take a field goal.
“You might have front-rowers trying for field goals soon, who knows?”
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