Fri, May 10, 1:03pm by Rob Sheeley
Match: Penrith Panthers vs Melbourne Storm – NRL Round 9
When/Where: 6:30pm Sunday, 12 May 2013 at Centrebet Stadium
Recommended NRL Bookmaker: www.Bet365.com
The NRL’s rank outsiders clash with the favourites in this mismatch of gargantuan proportions. Wins have been scant for the Panthers whilst the Storm suffered their first loss for sixteen matches last week.
The Panthers have managed to win just one of their last seven matches and face a daunting task here. The last thing any team would want is to face the Storm coming off a loss.
The Penrith team are in thirteenth place on the competition ladder and at $251 to win the competition. A win here would be a massive boost to their top eight aspirations.
The Storm’s golden run finally ended at the hands of the Raiders last weekend and they will be smarting from that loss. Don’t be surprised to see the Melbourne team as clinical as ever this weekend.
The Storm still sit atop the premiership ladder and have blown slightly in premiership markets. They are now $3.75 which is the best price that has been available for some weeks.
The Panthers have again decided to try a new halves combination with Isaac John starting at five eighth at the expense of Tom Humble. Adam Docker and Nigel Plum come into the starting lineup with Nathan Smith and Mose Masoe moving to the bench.
1. Matt Moylan
2. Travis Robinson
3. Lewis Brown
4. Dean Whare
5. David Simmons
6. Isaac John
7. Luke Walsh
8. Nigel Plum
9. Kevin Kingston (c)
10. Tim Grant
11. Sika Manu
12. Matt Robinson
13. Adam Docker
14. Mose Masoe
15. Sam Anderson
16. James Segeyaro
17. Clint Newton
18. Nathan Smith
The Panthers were on the end of a rugby league lesson at the hands of the Roosters last weekend as they went down 30-6. 2013 is proving a trying season for the Penrith club who have only registered two victories all season.
In Round 7, Panthers took on their western counterparts, the Eels, last Monday. They completely out enthused and outplayed Parramatta on their way to a 44-12 win. This was the Panthers first win since way back in Round 1.
In Round 6, the Panthers appeared to be well in the contest with the Knights for the bulk of the match. Despite having less possession than their opposition in the first half the Panthers trailed by just eight points at half time. They managed to score the only try of the second half but just couldn’t score that match winning try and went down by two points (8-6).
In Round 5, the Panthers met up with a tough Cowboys outfit in North Queensland. They could not match it with a form team led by superstar Jonathon Thurston and went down by thirty points (30-0).
Despite the Panthers having some promising young players, they look to lack the class across the park to compete with the bulk of the teams in this season’s competition. This match will be as hard as they come and they will need to stand up and be counted to remain any hope to compete.
Bet on the Panthers at www.Bet365.com
The Storm have named an unchanged team to last weekend with Kenneath Bromwich, Slade Griffin and Lagi Setu added to 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. Maurice Blair
17. Brett Finch
18. Slade Griffin
19. Lagi Setu
20. Kenneath Bromwich
The Melbourne Storm lost their first match for 2013 last weekend at the hands of the Canberra Raiders. After slipping behind midway through the second half, it appeared as though the Storm were again going to find a way to win as they came home with a late charge. In an uncharacteristic last ten minutes, the Storm took some poor options and failed to execute when it came to delivering the killer blows.
No doubt it will only prove a small speed hump on the Storms road to the playoffs and they will endeavour to return to their winning ways again this weekend.
Prior to 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.
There’s no questioning that the Storm still remain the competition benchmark. Expect them to regain that killer edge to their game again this weekend, it may be highly entertaining.
Bet on the Storm at www.Bet365.com
It would be no surprise to see the Storm produce one of their best games this season on the back of last week’s loss. The Panthers will have their hands full trying to contain the purple onslaught.
One factor that may keep the Panthers in the game is the deft kicking game of Luke Walsh. There are not many as good with the boot as Walsh and his kicking game could well provide the Panthers with extra opportunities.
The Panthers have decided upon yet another halves combination the week with Isaac John playing his first game for the Panthers set to start at five eighth. The way that he and Walsh combine will be a key if the Panthers are to remain competitive.
The Storms smorgasbord of dangerous players is well documented; Slater, Smith, Cronk and Chambers to name but a few. If one player has been a perennial quiet achiever for the Storm this season it is Ryan Hoffmann. Hoffmann has been very effective with his wide running and offloading which is an element of his game that he had developed strongly in recent times. Expect Hoffmann to be very heavily involved again this week.
Head to Head
Panthers – $5.75
Storm – $1.15
Panthers 1-12 – $6.50
Panthers 13+ – $15.00
Storm 1-12 – $3.20
Storm 13+ – $1.72
Panthers +14.5- $1.91
Storm -14.5 – $1.91
Despite the Raiders exposing some flaws in the Storm defence out wide last week, I cannot see the Panthers doing the same. The Storm will be out to win and put an exclamation mark on their return to form. I envisage Melbourne being way too classy in this one.
Melbourne should win this well and on that basis I think the Storm 13+ looks tremendous value at $1.72 with Bet365.com.
Will Chambers is my selection for first try scorer at $11 with Bet365.com.
The First Try Scorer Margin double of Chambers/Storm 13+ is okay value at $15.
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