NRL Qualifying Finals PreviewMelbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels
Saturday, September 9, 4:10pm (AEST) at AAMI Park, Melbourne

The Wolf has been left with egg on his face after taking on the Storm at the line over the past fortnight. They pumped the Rabbitohs 64-6 in Round 25 and followed it up with a 32-6 thumping of the Raiders. It’s a big line against the Eels, but he won’t be making the same mistake for a third time. Both sides have made minimal changes from the teams which ran out in Round 26. Storm backrower Dale Finucane returns at lock, with Kenny Bromwich moving back to the bench. Eels flyer Bevan French has been given an extra week off as he recovers from a hamstring injury.
HistoryThe Storm have won four of the past six clashes against the Eels, though the Eels were victorious 22-6 in Round 18 this year during the State of Origin period. The Eels have also won the last two at AAMI (both during Origin) but had lost the three previous before that.
FormMelbourne finished the season clearly on top of the table with the best attack and the best defence. They finished the year with seven straight wins, five of them being by margins of 20 or greater. They have not conceded more than 14 points over that stretch. Parramatta finished the year in fourth position on the back of a big second half of the year where they won 11 of their last 13. They finished the year with three straight wins, including an impressive 54-34 win over Brisbane in Round 25. The Eels finished the season ranked eighth in both scoring and defence.
Stats That Matter– Melbourne finished the season 14-10 ATS with a 12-12 total record while Parramatta are 13-11 ATS with a 17-7 under number.
– Melbourne have won six of their last nine against Parramatta though the Eels won the only meeting this year 22-6 (though that was during the Origin period).
– The Eels have also won the last two at AAMI (both during Origin) though had lost the three previous.
– Three of the last four games have failed to break 38 points.
– The under is 21-8 after the Storm conceded 10 points or fewer the previous start.
– The Storm have covered three of their last four home games.
– The Storm have covered five of their last seven as a double digit home favourite.
– The Eels are 9-14 ATS with a 17-7 over record interstate since 2014, covering their last three.
– The Eels are 3-10 ATS with an 11-2 over record when an interstate outsider of 6.5 or more.
Final ThoughtsThe Wolf as already pointed out, won’t be potting the Storm again. It could very well be the Cooper Cronk farewell tour, and a side as professional as the Storm won’t let the opportunity slip to farewell a club legend in style. The Storm have covered five of their last seven as a double digit home favourite and have been the clear benchmark in the NRL this season. They are pretty much full-strength and it will take a smart side to stop them from being there on the first Sunday in October. Storm to cover the spread and earn the week off.
How It’s Shaping UpMelbourne by 16
Best Bet
Melbourne -12 ($1.91)

Other Recommended Bets
1st Tryscorer & 80 Minute Margin Double – Vunivalu & Storm 13+ ($9)

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