In-Form Melbourne Host Knights

Source: Colin Whelan/AAP
Billy Slater was back to his best last week. Source: Colin Whelan/AAP
Last 5 Meetings

Round 5, 2012 – Melbourne Storm 34 d Newcastle Knights 22 at AAMI Park
4th Qualifying Final, 2011 – Melbourne Storm 18 d Newcastle Knights 8 at AAMI Park
Round 8, 2011 – Melbourne Storm 42 d Newcastle Knights 12 at AAMI Park
Round 26, 2010 – Melbourne Storm 34 d Newcastle Knights 4 at AAMI Park
Round 2, 2010 – Melbourne Storm 20 d Newcastle Knights 14 at Hunter Stadium

Current Form

  Rd 9    Rd 10    Rd 11    Rd 12    Rd 13 
Storm

L

D

W

-

W

Knights

L

W

L

L

L


Fresh from a thoroughly impressive 38-6 victory over the Sharks in round 13, Melbourne  will be confident of extending the Knights  losing run to four matches when the sides meet at AAMI Park on Sunday.

Coach Craig Bellamy has named an unchanged team for this match, with Lagi Setu and Matt Duffie the only members of the first grade squad unavailable for selection. The clubs four Origin players all backed up against Cronulla following their exertions in the series opener four days earlier and will look for big performances again as the club tries to maintain its place in the top on the NRL ladder through the testing representative period.

The Knights horror run with injuries continued this week, with news that both Alex McKinnon and David Fa'alogo will be out for extended periods. Neville Costigan is likely to take Fa’alogo’s place on the bench after being named as 18th man, while new recruit Craig Gower could be a late inclusion after travelling with the squad to Melbourne.

1st Tryscorer

Maurice Blair  only got a chance for the Storm when other players came down with injury but he has taken his opportunity with both hands. He has scored a try in each of his past three matches and was first across the line in his side’s demolition of the Sharks last week.

Newcastle centre Dane Gagai  made a big impression for the Knights when he joined the club halfway through last season but has failed to hit the same heights in 2013. He has just one try from his past eight matches for the club and will have to raise his game in order to keep his place in the team with the likes of Tahu and Uate nearing a return to action.

Prediction

The Knights have been dreadful away from Hunter Stadium this year, with a win over a depleted Titans outfit on the Gold Coast their only away win from eight attempts. Add to that the fact that Melbourne has won the past five clashes between the clubs and it is hard to see an upset in this fixture. Melbourne Storm by 20

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