Storm Still Dreaming Of The Double

Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Cameron Smith made 51 tackles against Souths last week. Image courtesy of heraldsun.com.au
Last 5 Meetings

Round 23, 2013 – Melbourne Storm 23 d Newcastle Knights 10 at Hunter Stadium
Round 14, 2013 – Melbourne Storm 16 d Newcastle Knights 14 at AAMI Park
Round 5, 2012 - Melbourne Storm 34 d Newcastle Knights 22 at AAMI Park
Qualifying Final, 2011 - Melbourne Storm 18 d Newcastle Knights 8 at AAMI Park
Round 8, 2011 - Melbourne Storm 42 d Newcastle Knights 12at AAMI Park

Current Form

  Rd 23    Rd 24    Rd 25    Rd 26    FW1 
Storm

W

W

L

W

L

Knights

L

L

W

W

W


The Storm  and Knights  meet at AAMI Park on Saturday night, with the loser set to have their 2013 brought to an end. Defending premier Melbourne was outmuscled by Souths in the first game of the finals series last weekend, going down 20-10, but will be confident of returning to the winning circle against the Knights. The Storm has won seven on the trot against Newcastle but the Knights come into this fixture full of confidence following a 22-6 victory over the Bulldogs on Sunday afternoon.

Melbourne hasn’t made any changes to the line-up which lost to the Rabbitohs last weekend, with winger Sisa Waqa cleared to play despite being stretched off with what appeared to be a serious neck injury in that match. Gareth Widdop returned from a dislocated hip against Souths when Brett Finch was ruled out and retains his place alongside Cooper Cronk in the halves with Finch 18th man.

Like their rivals, the Knights have named an unchanged squad for the second week of the finals, with coach Wayne Bennett retaining the same playing group that defeated Canterbury in an elimination final on Sunday. Willie Mason is set to play his 250th NRL game when he runs out for Newcastle while utility Matt Hilder will line up in the top grade for the 200th time.


1st Tryscorer

Billy Slater  has been in irresistible form at the back end of the season, with seven tries in his past five matches, including the first four pointer for Melbourne in each of the past two weeks. He will be confident of continuing his good form against the Knights at AAMI Park having got across the line in both meetings between the sides this year.

Darius Boyd  has struggled for consistency since joining the Knights at the start of 2012 but has been playing some of his best football for a while of late. He bagged the first try for his team last weekend and has five tries from his past four matches.


Prediction

The Knights were impressive against the Bulldogs last weekend but beating defending premier Melbourne will be a much tougher task for Wayne Bennett’s troops. The Storm has won seven on the trot against Newcastle and hasn’t lost to them at AAMI Park since 2004. Although Melbourne has lost two of its past three matches both defeats came against legitimate premiership contenders in Souths and Manly and they should be too good for the Knights, who haven’t beaten a top four club all year. Melbourne Storm by 12

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