Fri, Sep 5, 2:22pm by Rob Sheeley
IN a round where so many matches could govern the future of at least one of the teams involved, this is possibly the most pivotal of all.
The Brisbane Broncos travel south to Victoria to tackle the Melbourne Storm and attempt to keep their season alive in the process.
They will do so as a long-priced outsider with the locals lining up as $1.36 favourites with Sportingbet.
The number of possible equations surrounding the outcome of this encounter make a calculus exam look like a piece of cake.
The Storm currently sit in sixth place on 30 competition points with a points differential of +66. The Broncos sit two places behind them on 28 but have a superior points differential of +103.
A loss to either side will see their survival in 2014 left in the lap of the footballing gods. A win for the Storm could possibly catapult them into the top four.
AustralianGambling will look at the mergin betting for this all important Round 26 match.
Storm 1-12 – $3.10
Storm 13+ – $2.30
Broncos 1-12 – $4.50
Broncos 12+ – $8.00
If you like to follow historical results as a leg-up for your punting pursuits, then there is only one possible outcome for you in this encounter.
The Storm have won the last seven matches between the two teams with the last Brisbane victory coming way back in May of 2010.
Last week the Storm were out-gunned by the Roosters in a 24-12 loss. They did lead until the 63rd minute of that match and showed that they still have what it takes to compete with the better teams in the competition.
Melbourne mentor Craig Bellamy will take the same squad of 17 into this match with Ryan Hinchcliffe again named to start and Jordan McLean on the bench, although those two did swap prior to kick off last week. Junior Moors and Justin O’Neill also join the team on an extended bench.
The Broncos were reasonably dominant in their 30-22 win over the St George Illawarra Dragons last week. They led 24-4 at half time before the Dragons came back after the controversial sin-binning of Matt Gillett.
Anthony Griffin makes one forced change to the Brisbane team in what could well be his last game at the helm should they lose. Todd Lowrie comes into the team to replace the suspended Sam Thaiday after he earned a week off via a crusher tackle on Will Matthews. Thaiday was originally named in the team with Lowrie on stand by so the exact reshuffle is yet to be announced.
Big game experience counts for plenty at this stage of the season and the Melbourne Storm ooze it, particularly in their key positions.
The Broncos forward pack will lose a lot of punch with Thaiday absent and may find it difficult to dominate the relentless Melbourne sorties.
With so much at stake, there would be no surprise to see this game develop into an arm wrestle.
The Storm should be too good but it would be a surprise to see them put a big score on the Brisbane team.
The likelihood of a tight contest makes the Storm 1-12 look to be good value at $3.10.
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