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Melbourne Storm v Newcastle Knights

Friday, June 2, 6pm (AEST), AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Melbourne Storm will be sweating that Will Chambers, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith get through State of Origin 1 unscathed to take on the Newcastle Knights on the quick back-up. Meanwhile, the Knights have the one Origin representative in Dane Gagai, and unless injury strikes, he should have no problem backing up.
The Storm did the double over the Knights in 2016, with both victories by a margin of four points. The last six matches between these sides have being split evenly. The Storm have not beaten the Knights by more than 13 since 2011. Six of the last eight games have failed to break 34 points.
Melbourne have the best record in the NRL with 9 wins and 2 losses. They bounced back from their 38-36 loss to the Titans with a 14-6 win over Souths in Perth before the bye. The Storm have conceded 22-plus in 3 of their last 5. Newcastle are last on the ladder with a 2-9 record. After ending a long losing streak against Canberra, the Knights lost at home 30-20 to Penrith. Newcastle have conceded at least 19 points in every game this year while they have scored 20-plus in consecutive games for the first time since Rounds 1-2.
Key Matchup
Jesse Bromwich v Daniel Saifiti. Bromwich returns from a club-imposed ban and will have a point to prove to his coach and teammates. It’s been a disappointing season to date for Bromwich, who has arguably been rated as the best prop in the game. Origin is always a tough period for the Storm and The Wolf is expecting a strong response by Bromwich. Saifiti has been one of the shining lights in yet another tough season for the Knights. He’s only 21 years of age, but plays like a seasoned veteran, with an extremely good work ethic. He is becoming one of the leaders of the Knights pack and won’t get many sterner tests than this week’s clash against the Storm.
Stats That Matter

  • Melbourne are 5-6 ATS with a 7-4 under record while Newcastle are also 5-6 ATS with a 6-5 under record.
  • Newcastle have a surprisingly good recent record against Melbourne with the last six matches being split evenly.
  • The Storm won both matches last year but both by only just four points apiece.
  • The Storm have not beaten the Knights by more than 13 since 2011.
  • Six of the last eight games have failed to break 34 points.
  • The Storm are 8-12 ATS with a 14-6 under record when favoured at home by more than 8 points.
  • The Storm have failed to cover their last three at home being favoured by more than two converted tries.
  • Melbourne have gone under in 16 of their last 17 at home after conceding fewer than 14 points.
Final Thoughts
The Wolf is expecting the Storm to get the win here, but the -16 line could be too big to cover for a side that has been missing two crucial members of their spine (Cronk and Smith) at training throughout the lead-up to Origin 1. The Wolf is also keen on the unders for this same reason. The Storm will most likely be disjointed at different stages of the match, while the Knights have showed some fight in their recent matches. Unders and the Knights with the big start is the way The Wolf is playing this one.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 8
Best Bet
Under 43.5 ($1.88)
Other Recommended Bets
Newcastle +16 ($1.91)

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