Melbourne Storm Vs North Queensland Cowboys
1 Oct 2017, 7:15pm
ANZ Stadium

It’s the Minor Premiers vs the 8th Rank wrecking balls for the final game of the season. With all the expectations on the all conquering Storm, can the fairy tale continue for the Battered Cowboys?

With out a shadow of a doubt the Melbourne Storm have been the best team in 2017. Having only lost 4 games all season, with the most Points scored, 633 and least points scored against them, with a poultry 336, it’s really Day light second in season 2017.
The Storm had their toughest match in a long period against a spirited Eels outfit, with their class hanging on to win by 2 points and earning the week off. After the weeks rest, it was a training gallop and an absolute clinic as they dismantled a dismal Brisbane outfit, that was off the pace and received a drumming of 30-0. With a simple run before the Grand Final this could be a blessing in disguise as Brisbane simply fell apart and the only hard tackles were late and limited in effect.

With the “Trio’s” era coming to an end, it looks like an unlikely task for the Cowboys. However most critics gave them no chance as they made the Top 8 off the back of the Dragons self imploding.
But to their credit, the Cowboys have played simple footy, Treat the ball like your first child and Never give up. With this ringing in their ears, they have squeezed out a Golden Point win vs the fumbling Sharks, side stepped their way through an in experienced Eels team putting 24 points on them, to win by 8 and out muscled the Roosters in a Stella second half performance to win by 13 points and book their place vs the Storm.

The Key Match Up: C. Smith Vs J. Granville.

No real surprise here, however this match up will decide the game. We know both forward packs will be striving for every inch, Cronk and Morgan will be at their kicking best and Slater/Coote will be scheming like thieves at night.

But the Hooker (no.9) is the key to both teams, both play a different style which is fascinating to watch and mouth watering to say the least.

C. Smith, aka CS9 or GOAT (in the Hooker position) has really mastered and manufactured so many wins for the Melbourne Storm. He seems to have inside knowledge of the oppositions game plan before they do and dismantles them as he goes about his business. This annoys the oppositions fans, but for the neutral fan it’s a great spectacle and it’s the reason why he’s the Qld and Australian captain.
The superlatives are all but exhausted on him, overtaking so many legends on all the records as he looks to add another premiership to his belt.

Watch for:
1. A 40/20m kick tomorrow, he has become more active on this during the lead up to the finals, he may not land one, but the pure ability that he can keeps the wingers deep on defence. With the wingers deep, this allows his Halves to take on the line and create chances for his sensational wingers.
2. Short passing close to the try line. He has developed this floating movement close to the oppositions try line, then turns the ball on the inside, when the defenders over chase him. It’s a very subtle change to his usual movement, but it’s uncanny as he must have eyes in the back of his head sometimes to pull it off.
3. None stop Heart. He will play every minute of this game and the effort he starts with is what he finishes with. Because of his stamina, he is able to read the game in the “fatigued” stages and make the right choices under huge stress. A lot of Hookers can’t sustain this and lose this ability to “feel” the game and it hurts their team. He won’t go missing and look for the 9 all day around the middle third of the ground.

J. Granville
He is a very good player, his speed from dummy half is second to none and has a very good passing game both long and short. He will need to be at his best to give the Cowboys any chance of victory this grand final.
1. Sniping ability, he is almost the best Hooker in this area of the game. He loves it when markers split early or only one makes it onside and he takes off down the field. This puts pressure on the defenders to get up early in the tackles or risk him splitting them up the middle.
2. Crisp deliver, much like the Post man, Granville delivers on time. He has a great ability to get his passes to the key men 99% of the time. In today’s game this will be exceptionally important as the Storm will be ruthless all match.
3. Questionable stamina. This would be our only criticism of his game, he tends to be taken off and giving time to re gather his speed for a second burst. It’s a catch 22, he can then target the bigger men in the middle of the park, but then loses his “Feel” for the games flow.

Statistics to consider:

9 from the last 10 games between the Storm and Cowboys have been won by the Favourite.
The Storm have won their last 13 matches whilst being the favourite.
The Storm have won their last 5 vs the Cowboys.
The Storm have won 6 from 8 matches interstate at Night and 83% during the 2017 season at night.
The Storm have scored the first Try in 65% of their matches in 2017.
The Storm have won 13 out of 18 matches at night, whilst leading at Half time.
Storm Average: 26 points in attack and allow 13.5 points in defence. With an average winning margin of 16 points.
Cowboys average: 19.8 points in attack and allow 18 points in defence. With an average winning margin of 10 points.
Matches at ANZ, average a winning margin of 12 points and a game total of 38 in Season 2017.

For us the above point to the dominance of the Storm all year. We are predicting a very good win by the Storm. The First half is going to be brutal and at a frantic pace, with a few opportunities, but where the game will come to life will be the second half. Both teams have been exceptional in the second 40 minutes and we are expecting the same, with the ball seeing more flight and risks being taken or a Run away effort by the Storm over a gallant Cowboys outfit.

Free Play
Other market/Half Markets – Highest scoring half – Second $1.85 (Willaim Hill)

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