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Cooper Cronk - Melbourne Storm
Cooper Cronk is in outstanding form ahead of Storm's clash with the Knights. Image courtesy of dailytelegraph.com.au

Newcastle Knights Logo


Knights v Storm


Hunter Stadium

Saturday August 9 – 5:35 PM (AEST)

Form:


WWLWL

LLWWW


Melbourne Storm Logo


The stats here point to a one-sided affair. Melbourne Storm are back to their very best and have won eight of their last nine against the Newcastle Knights . Against the Wests Tigers last Monday, Storm started off slow, but came home strong in the end. It was all thanks to halfback Cooper Cronk, who was all class. It’s bad news for the Knights, who are coming off their worst loss of season, thrashed 50-10 by the Rabbitohs.

With match fitness under his belt after six weeks out with a fractured arm, Cronk is in ominous form. On Monday night, everything he did was so clinical. The pass to set up Will Chambers for a try was pin-point perfect. When Chambers caught the ball it looked like he couldn’t believe his luck. Cronk had another man-of-the-match performance, finishing with two line breaks assists and four try assists. Given they scored five tries, that is a very impressive stat. If he keeps going the way he is, the Storm are going to push for that Premiership ring. Coach Craig Bellamy has named an unchanged line-up, with Dayne Weston and Kurt Mann added to an extended bench.

For the Knights, postive are few and far between. However, it's good to see the improvement of rookie fullback Sione Mata’utia. He has so much potential and he proved that again on Sunday, finishing with 122 metres and 3 tackle busts. Mata’utia has been pushed to the NYC to make way for captain Kurt Gidley. Jarrod Mullen, Kade Snowden and Akuila Uate have all been named to return from injury, with Jake Mamo and Joseph Tapine both also dropping back to the NYC. Chris Houston has been named as 18th man.

The Storm are beginning to build some momentum at the right time and it's been five years since they lost in Newcastle. If Melbourne continue from where they left off on Monday, it will be a long night for the Novocastrians.

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Toby's Tip: Storm 13+

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