What a way to kick off round 25 of the NRL Competition! Is this a Grand Final preview? Many would have to assume so as they look these two are head and shoulders above all others except the Broncos. It’s a tough ask for the Eagles to prevent the Storm from winning 13 straight, but if they can it could ruin their momentum and stall their progress to the premiership. Should the Storm win then you would almost have to say that it is up to the Broncos to take them on.
This is one of those occasions where mouth watering is more than just an expression. This is going to be an absolute cracker, and what better place to hold it for Eagles fans than Brookvale Oval, more commonly known as “The Fortress”. The Eagles are yet to disappoint their fans at any of their home games held at Brookvale in 2011, so the Storm have got a big assignment as well.
The Storm have maintained a good record against the Storm at Brookvale with 6-9 being the historical record. These 2 kicked of 2011 against each other in Round 1 at AAMI Park with the Storm winning 18-6. A lot has changed since then with both teams improving astronomically.
A Perfect season at home is a rarity and should the Eagles beat the Storm they will achieve this rare feat. Further to this they will carry the psychological advantage over the Storm into the finals, and should they meet again it could be a massive positive for Des Hasler’s lads.
It has to be said that the Eagles are not in the form they were at the start and middle of the season. They were shaping to be the only team capable of knocking the Storm off the top of the ladder. Whilst this is still theoretically possible it is highly unlikely due to the Storm being 2 wins ahead as well as a mighty for and against.
The only blemish to the Eagles in the last month was a poor second half against the Tigers and this resulted in a loss after leading 12-0 at half time. The second half has been one of the stronger points of the Eagles in 2011 and this is the only reason that they have not been as good as earlier in the season. Over the last 3 weeks it looks like they have corrected this problem with 64/90 points scored in these weeks coming from the second half’s.
With a streak of 12 wins it’s hard to see any weaknesses in the Storm’s team. I thought the Dragons were going to get over them last week without Cronk on the field but I was proven wrong. The Storm were definitely not as dangerous as previous weeks though, with plenty of points gone begging without their chief playmaker out wide. They scored just 8 points, their least of the season. It’s still amazing that they were able to win.
There were a lot of lost opportunities for the Dragons though and the score card could have easily favoured the visiting side.
This week is a much harder task as they have to stop the second best team of the season as they have just consolidated their run into the finals with 3 good wins. Further to my point earlier, they have to travel to Brookvale where the Eagles have not lost in 2011. I think it’s time to flip a coin…..
…. Flip a coin I shan’t. I am going with my favourites to take home the Tupperware in 2011 and it may come as a surprise to some but this is the Eagles. I think they have a stronger team than the year they beat the Storm 40 zip in a grand final. The Storm have a weaker team (obviously a result of fitting under the salary cap!), so the Eagles really have no excuse for not finishing the perfect season at Brookvale.
With Cooper Cronk still in doubt the Eagles are shorter priced favourites than they should be, paying $1.59 for the H2H win. If the Eagles can crack them early in the second half then 13+ is looking good at $3.10.