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Melbourne Storm v Gold Coast Titans

Saturday, May 13, 5:30pm (AEST), Suncorp Stadium, Brisbane

This is the first match of an exciting double-header at Suncorp Stadium on Saturday night. Both of these clubs have been caught up in the recent drug scandal, with Jesse Bromwich and Kevin Proctor both stood down by their respective teams. Tim Glasby comes into the starting side to replace Glasby, while Joe Greenwood will take Proctor’s spot in the backrow. The Storm are flying in front and should have too much class for the gritty Titans.
The Storm have won four straight and 9 of the last 11 against the Titans with their last three being by margins of 18-plus. They recorded comfortable victories in both of the 2016 clashes, winning the Round 2 clash 34-16 in Melbourne and followed it up with a 38-0 shutout on the Gold Coast in Round 9. Both Suliasi Vunivalu and Cooper Cronk crossed the stripe twice in the Round 9 victory.
Melbourne sit atop the premiership ladder with an 8-1 record. Their attack has been a feature of late with 20-plus scored in 4 of their last 5 including an impressive 34-point haul away to St George Illawarra. The Storm have conceded 20-plus in their last two away games. Gold Coast have won their last two and have looked in pretty good form with back-to-back wins over Cronulla and Newcastle. The Titans have conceded 26-plus in 6 of 9 games this year but not in either of their last two, conceding an average of just 10 across the two games. Gold Coast’s attack has been fine this year with 22-plus scored in 6 of 9 matches.
Key Matchup
Cooper Cronk v Ashley Taylor. It will be a case of master v apprentice when Cooper Cronk goes up against Ashley Taylor at Suncorp on Saturday night. This could very well be Cronk’s final season in the NRL and he’ll be determined to remind Taylor what it takes to have a long career in the game. The Storm’s attack has been their strong suit of late, with the general in Cronk calling the shots. Taylor is an exciting prospect, who has an amazing 15 try-assists this season, and is a future Origin star in the making. Coming up against the likes of Cronk, Cameron Smith and Billy Slater is great for his rugby league education and he’ll need to go to another level here if the Titans are to cause an upset.
Stats That Matter
Melbourne are 5-4 ATS with a 6-3 under record while Gold Coast are 5-4 ATS with a 7-2 over record. The Storm have won four straight and 9 of the last 11 against the Titans with their last three being by margins of 18-plus. The Storm have scored 23-plus in 10 of their last 11 against the Titans. Melbourne are a perfect 5-0 with a 4-1 ATS record at Suncorp since 2013 while the Titans are 0-5 with a 1-4 ATS number. Favourites of 6.5 or more off a bye are 39-17 ATS.  The Storm have covered 3 of their last 4 as an interstate favourite of more than a converted try.
Final Thoughts
The loss of Jesse Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona hurts the Storm’s depth in the engine room, but the return of Tohu Harris gives Craig Bellamy’s side a massive boost. The Storm are 8-1 for a reason and have too many weapons across the park for a Titans side, which looks a bit light in the backrow.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 12
Best Bet
Melbourne -8 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
Over 39.5 ($1.88)

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