NRL PreviewMelbourne Storm v Sydney Roosters
Saturday, August 12, 5:30pm (AEST) at AAMI Park, Melbourne

It could be an early preview of this year’s NRL Grand Final when the Melbourne Storm host the Sydney Roosters on Saturday night. These sides met in Adelaide earlier in the year, with the Roosters recording a 25-24 victory over the Storm, who were missing their Origin stars. The Storm will be once again missing Cameron Munster and Tohu Harris, while the Roosters side will be boosted by the returns of co-captains Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend. Winger Daniel Tupou will miss the clash due to a groin injury.
HistoryThe Storm have won three of the last four against the Roosters including a one-point win in Adelaide earlier in the year. The Storm have also won four of the last five contests in Melbourne against the Roosters.
FormMelbourne are again the best team in the NRL with a 16-4 record and the minor premiership all but sewn up. The Storm have won their last three, their last two against Top 8 opponents by 13-plus. The Storm have the best defence combined with the second best attack in the NRL. The Sydney Roosters are second on the ladder with a 14-6 record but enter this off a very bad loss to Manly, losing 36-18 after leading 18-4. The Roosters have the fifth best defence and sixth ranked attack. The Roosters have won 8 of their last 11.
Key MatchupCameron Smith v Jake Friend: Smith is the front-runner to take out this year’s Dally M Medal and his value to this Storm side can never be questioned. If it’s possible, he’s gone to another level since the recent State of Origin series and will take this Storm side deep into the finals. Rookie Victor Radley has done a stellar job in Friend’s absence, but the return of the Roosters No.1 hooker is very timely. Friend would have played more matches for Queensland if not for the best hooker to ever play in Smith. He’d love to get one over Smith, but more importantly would love a win to keep a two-point break over the chasing pack.
Stats That Matter– Melbourne are 11-9 ATS with a 10-10 total number while the Sydney Roosters are 10-10 ATS with an 11-9 under record.
– The Storm have won three of the last four against the Roosters and nearly upset them in Adelaide during Origin when without five of their biggest names.
– The Storm have won four of the last five contests in Melbourne against the Chooks.
– The last four matches have all topped 36 points.
– The Storm are 23-27 ATS since 2014 with a 30-20 under record.
– Melbourne are 12-17 ATS when favoured by more than a converted try at home.
– Melbourne are 14-2 under since 2014 after conceding 12 or fewer points.
– The Roosters have covered 7 of their last 11 getting 4.5 or more points start.
– The Roosters are 7-2 ATS off a loss over the last 12 months.
– The Roosters are 13-4 ATS with an 11-6 under record after conceding 30 or more points (7-3 ATS, 8-2 under on the road).
– The Roosters have covered 8 of their last 12 night matches
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf can see a low-scoring, grinding affair making the Roosters +8 a five-chip special. The Roosters will be boosted by the return of Boyd Cordner and Jake Friend, and will be determined to make amends for letting a 18-4 lead slip against the Sea Eagles last week. The Storm are the kings of the grind and will do enough to extend their lead at the top of the ladder.
How It’s Shaping UpMelbourne by 2
Best Bet
Sydney +8 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 36.5 ($1.88)

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