Thu, May 2, 12:00pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders (NRL Round 8).
When/Where: Saturday, 4 May 2013; 5:30pm at AAMI Park.
The club has now put together an amazing sixteen victories in a row and experts are already discussing them passing the record of the 1975 Eastern Suburbs side for most consecutive wins (19).
Canberra are $31 premiership chances and are still winless away from home in 2013. They were beaten but not disgraced against the Cowboys in Townsville last weekend but face a more ominous proposition here.
Head to Head
Storm – $1.15
Raiders – $5.75
Storm 1-12 – $3.25
Storm 13+ – $1.65
Raiders 1-12 – $7.00
Raiders 13+ – $17.00
Storm -15.5 – $1.91
Raiders +15.5 – $1.91
• Storm have won 4 of their last 6 against the Raiders.
• The Storm & Raiders have met 31 times. Storm have won 23, Raiders have won 8.
• Storm have won their last 7 at AAMI Park.
• Raiders have won 2 of 3 appearances at AAMI Park.
The Storm have named the same starting side as the one that played in Round 7. They have included Kenneath Bromwich as eighteenth man on an extended bench.
1. Billy Slater
2. Sisa Waqa
3. Will Chambers
4. Justin O’Neill
5. Mahe Fonua
6. Gareth Widdop
7. Cooper Cronk
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Cameron Smith (c)
10. Bryan Norrie
11. Kevin Proctor
12. Ryan Hoffman
13. Tohu Harris
14. Jason Ryles
15. Junior Moors
16. Slade Griffin
17. Lagi Setu
18. Kenneath Bromwich
The Melbourne Storm remain undefeated in 2013 and have continued their superb run of form from 2012. The Storm have now won fifteen consecutive games. Whilst this winning streak continues, each win sets a new club record for the highly successful team and there are no signs that it will end here.
Last week in Round 7 we witnessed all the tenacity, class and sheer will to win that we have become accustomed to from the Storm. Appearing down and out, Melbourne found an extra gear in the last ten minutes and not only eclipsed the Warriors but ran away to win by ten points (28-18).
Round 6 saw the Storm face their biggest test for the season when they took on the only other undefeated side in the competition, South Sydney. Melbourne were clinical in that match and showed the professionalism that has made them into both the Premiers and World Club Champions.
In the end, it was a seven point victory over the Rabbitohs but the Storm dominated throughout the entire match. The game was of semi final standard and Melbourne showed they are ready for that sort of rugby league.
In Round 5, the Storm started slowly against the Tigers and even looked as though they may struggle to overhaul a deficit with just fifteen minutes remaining. Yet in typical Storm fashion, they clicked into overdrive and ran out fourteen point winners.
Melbourne possesses a winning culture that means they never consider themselves beaten during any contest. This is the reason that they remain the team that everyone else hopes to emulate.
The Raiders will be without their star centre Jarrod Croker this weekend. Jack Wighton will move from the wing into the vacant centre position with Sandor Earle coming onto the wing. Terry Campese will also begin in the starting team this weekend.
Joel Thompson is out with three new faces appearing on the bench. Joe Picker has been named in the top seventeen while Jarrad Kennedy and Shaun Berrigan have been named eighteenth and nineteenth men respectively.
1. Reece Robinson
2. Sandor Earl
3. Jack Wighton
4. Blake Ferguson
5. Edrick Lee
6. Terry Campese (c)
7. Josh McCrone
8. Tom Learoyd-Lahrs
9. Matt McIlwrick
10. Brett White
11. Joel Edwards
12. Jake Foster
13. Shaun Fensom
14. Anthony Milford
15. Joe Picker
16. Dane Tilse
17. Paul Vaughan
18. Jarrad Kennedy
19. Shaun Berrigan
Canberra have established themselves as a force to be reckoned with when they play at home this year. They have also found it impossible to win away. Unfortunately for the Raiders, this week is the toughest of all away games.
Last week, the Raiders could not match it with the Jonathon Thurston led Cowboys in Townsville. They performed okay in patches but were never really a threat and went down by 30-12.
In Round 6 they managed to come from behind to overrun the Warriors in the last few minutes of a rugged match and win by four points (20-16). Their coach David Furner will be frustrated at the fact that they are often giving sides a start in their matches.
In Round 5 it was a very similar situation. The Raiders were down and seemingly out against the Roosters before a late flurry of tries got them home. This was a big result for the green machine and the only loss for the Roosters to date.
This is an undeniably tough assignment for the Raiders but a good opportunity for them to prove they are not a one trick pony.
A key statistic that the Raiders will be looking to alter here is the fact that they are yet to win on the road in 2013. Surprisingly the Raiders have a 66% win record at AAMI Park, not many teams boast a record like that.
The Raiders forward pack is certainly not lacking in size. Giants the ilk of Brett White, Dane Tilse and Tom Learoyd-Lahrs are imposing figures to any opposition. They will be very important to the Raiders chances. They will look to halt the progress of the tough Storm pack which will, in turn, give their backs less opportunity.
Terry Campese has played a couple of games back now and will slowly be finding his feet. He comes up against the best here and will really get a good gauge of where he is at.
The Storm have an embarrassment of riches right across the field. Whilst the “big three” of Slater, Smith and Cronk get a lot of kudos, one savvy veteran is playing out of his skin this season; Ryan Hoffmann.
The experience and guile of Ryan Hoffman has provided a large part of the platform that is the basis for the Storms success in 2013. His left siode running has been devastating and his defence is as impenetrable as ever. Hoffmann showed how good he is two weeks ago in the City vs Country match where he won the man of the match award.
Prop forwards Jesse Bromwich and Bryan Norrie have been in career best form and the depth provided by players such as Jason Ryles is superb.
Will Chambers is realising the full potential of the talent that he was showing before he was forced from the game two years ago with a rare blood disease. It is great to see him back and he is providing endless entertainment for Storm fans.
I can only see one result here, the Storm look way too good and should make it sixteen in a row with consummate ease.
Storm by 16
I think $1.65 for the Storm to win by 13+ at Centrebet.com is reasonably good value.
We will go with Will Chambers to score the first try at $11.
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