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04 Sep 2018 by Ash Wheldon

2018 NRL – Melbourne Storm vs South Sydney Rabbitohs Preview

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AT A GLANCE

When?
Friday 7th September, 10:40 (UK)

Where?
AAMI Park

What channel is it on?
UK – Sky Sports Arena
Australia – Foxtel, Nine Network, LIVE PASS

Where can I stream the match?
UK – Sky Sports subscribers can stream the match online via Sky Go
Australia – https://www.telstra.com.au/tv-movies-music/sports-offer

Are tickets still available?
https://hotshow3.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=NRLMRSQF18

THE STATISTICS

THE LOWDOWN

STORM

Head Coach: Craig Bellamy

Starting 13: Slater, Vunivalu, Blair, Scott, Addo-Carr, Munster, Hughes, J. Bromwich, C. Smith, Glasby, F. Kaufusi, Stimson, Finucane – Interchanges: B. Smith, Welch, K. Bromwich, Hoffman – Reserves: Croft, Kasiano

Unavailable: Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Will Chambers

  • Despite going into Round 25 with the fate of the minor Premiership in their own hands, Melbourne saw the title slip away as they lost 16-22 to Penrith last week. That defeat – coupled with Sydney Roosters hammering Parramatta – was enough for the Roosters to leapfrog the Storm at the top of the ladder.
  • The Storm are able to recall Billy Slater, Suliasi Vunivalu, Cameron Munster and Brandon Smith after the quartet were all absent from Melbourne’s last game of the regular season.
  • Melbourne’s defence was the second best in the NRL over the course of the regular season, conceding just 363 points which was just two points more than the Roosters.

RABBITOHS

Head Coach: Anthony Seibold

Starting 13: Johnston, Graham, Inglis, Gagai, Jennings, Walker, Reynolds, T. Burgess, Cook, G. Burgess, Sutton, Crichton, S. Burgess – Interchanges: Hunt, Murray, Clark, Britt – Reserves: Burns, Tatola

Unavailable: Adam Doueihi

  • South Sydney got back to winning ways after three straight defeats as they hammered Wests Tigers last week. The Rabbitohs ended the regular season in near-perfect fashion as they scored 29 unanswered second half points to romp home by 51 points to 10.
  • The Rabbitohs are unchanged from last week’s big win with Anthony Seibold heading into the game with his first choice starting XIII.
  • South Sydney ended their league campaign as they highest scorers in the NRL. The Bunnies posted 582 points at an average of 24.3 points per game.
  • The Rabbitohs came top of several other attacking categories as they registered the most tries (98), run metres (34,884) and most linebreaks (146).

THE PREDICTION

The Storm hosting the Rabbitohs kicks off the NRL finals on Friday and whilst all four games look like crackers, this could be the best of the lot. These two played out a superb contest in Round 21 when the Rabbitohs got the better of the Storm at ANZ and will need to replicate that level of performance to claim the win here. The Bunnies were brutal in defence that night and showed signs of that dominance against the Tigers last week. The Storm have some of their big guns back in the form of Billy Slater and Cameron Munster but must do without Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Will Chambers. Whilst the Rabbitohs have never won a game in Melbourne, records are there to be broken and they can edge what should be a pulsating contest.

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