Friday Night NRL

Source: Colleen Petch/News Limited
Cooper Cronk will back up alongside Billy Slater and Cameron Smith. Image courtesy of foxsports.com.au

Broncos v Storm

Melbourne  have named star trio Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk and Billy Slater for their Friday night clash against the Broncos. Once again the Broncos have opted to rest their origin stars with Thaiday, Hodges, Hannant and Civoniceva all sidelined for the top of the table encounter. Scott Anderson and Josh McGuire will start in the front row making way for David Hala and Dunamis Lui to claim their vacant bench positions.

History – Despite being on top of the competition ladder, both teams are coming off losses before having a bye last round. The Storm have been dominant against the Broncos in recent seasons winning nine of the past eleven games between the two clubs. AAMI Park has been an unhappy place for opposition teams with the Storm beaten once in their past eleven games at home. The Storm ran riot against the Broncos in round 20 last season, recording a dominant 26-6 win.

Dangermen – Melbourne fullback Billy Slater  had an average game in State of Origin 1 and he will be hoping that form doesn’t leak into club football. Broncos fullback Josh Hoffman  has been earmarked as a future star and his performances of late have reinforced this tag. Hoffman is fifth in the competition for total run metres and hitups/runs.

Prediction – Melbourne are hard to go past at home. The Storm boys will be primed for a big game against the Broncos who are missing some go forward up front after resting their origin players. Storm 1-12 .

Souths v Canberra

The Rabbitohs  are aiming for four straight wins when they host the Raiders  at ANZ Stadium on Friday night. The Bunnies have been on fire lately on the back of a solid forward pack which has been boosted by the return of English international Sam Burgess. The Raiders start to the season has been less convincing and they need to start stringing together wins if they are a chance of featuring come September. The Radiers dropped Josh Dugan and Blake Ferguson during the week after the speedy due breeched club alcohol policy.

History – These two teams traditionally score plenty of points when playing. The Rabbitohs flogged Canberra 47-18 in the last game between the clubs. The Rabbitohs will be hoping to end a 6 year winning drought against the Raiders in Sydney. The Radiers will have to overcome a poor away record after winning only two of their past ten games on the road.

Dangermen – Bunnies star Nathan Merrit  has been named at fullback with Greg Inglis on an extended bench. Merritt scored four tries in two games against Canberra in 2011. When given his chance this season, Raiders livewire Reece Robinson  has been in fine form and should expect plenty of early ball.

Prediction – Expect a flamboyant high scoring encounter with both teams willing to throw the ball around. It’s hard going past the Rabbitohs under new coach Michael McGuire and given their recent form. Rabbitohs 1-12 .

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