Its gearing up to be a MASSIVE weekend with the AFL Grand Final on saturday between the Bulldogs and the Swans and then the NRL Final sunday between Storm and Sharks. Theirs a hundred different ways you could predict these games but we’re going to keep it simple and just give you the facts, as well as this we will also show you how you can make a bit extra cash off some bookie promos 100% RISK FREE.
So the NRL season is almost wrapped up and its come down to this, Cronulla vs Melbourne. Can the Sharks make up for 50 seasons of disappointment and come away with a win? or will Bellamy’s Storm do what they do best and grind out another win?
Cronulla Sharks vs Melbourne Storm
7:15pm, Sunday 2 October, ANZ Stadium
This will be the Storms 500th game in the NRL since their conception in 1998. Over the last 19 years they have won over 64% of their games, thats 317 win and only 176 lost. Out of those 19 seasons they have made finals appearances 16 times, only missing the finals in 2001, 2002, 2010. The Storm have won four of their last five games. The loss was the Round 25 match against the Broncos.
This will be the Sharks 1320th game since their conception into the NSWRL in 1967. Over those 50 seasons they have a win ratio of roughly 48%. The Sharks have played in 42 finals in the 50 seasons. The sharks had their longest winning streak this season winning 15 in a row from the 28th March 2016 – 24th July 2016. The Sharks have won three from the last five games. However, that run includes their 26-6 Round 26 loss to the Storm.
This is the 27th game between the two sides and as it stands Storm has won 18 of those to the Sharks 9. Storm have beaten the sharks every time they have met away from Shark Park since 2008.
Sharks as a whole gift their opponents alot of penalties. There is no side in the league that capatalise greater on a penalty then Storm. Below are stats from the 2016 season.
As you can see the Sharks don’t do themselves any faviours at all, with key players like James Maloney being crutial to the Sharks attack but really letting them down in defense.
Valentine Holmes (Sharks) v Sulasi Vunivallu (Storm)
They were the perfect match up last season with their stats almost being a mirror image of the other. Holmes holds the record this season scoring 19 down the right side, while Vunivalu gets well over that with 23 on the left. Vunivalu beats the former record for most tries in a NRL season by a rookie, previously held by Israel Folau.
James Maloney (Sharks) v Cooper Cronk (Storm)
Cronk and Maloney are both teams key players setting up a lot of their try scoring runs each game. As much as we want this to be a match up its more of a white wash with Cronk decimating Maloney’s numbers in all aspects. Try assists (29 to 10), line break assists (22 to 10), tries (12 to seven) and tackle breaks (30 to 24)….as we said, Cronk has the stats.
Andrew Fifita (Sharks) v Jesse Bromwich (Storm)
This is another variable match up, with Bromwich displaying impressive footwork close to the line all season as oppose to Fifita’s unorthodox front-row play. Fifita takes the medal here though highlighted by his superior tackle breaks (90 to 42) and offloads (66 to 43).
Ben Barba (Sharks) v Cameron Munster (Storm)
This is the match up that will make or break either team. Barba edges Munster in tries (15 to 4) and try assists (21 to 12), but trails in line break assists (19 to 23) and tackle busts (97 to 114). Barber was once considered Queenslands replacement for Billy Slater, while Munster has don’t an excellent job for Storm since Slaters injury.
This will be only the second time that these teams have met in the finals. The first time was the 2008 preliminary final at the Sydney Football Stadium. The Storm ran out 28-0 winners, in spite of having Cam Smith out due to suspension for his head grapple on Sam Thaiday. Of course, the next week they suffered their fourth biggest loss ever – and their second biggest loss of the Bellamy era – when they lost the grand final 40-0 to the Sea Eagles.
Only two players from the Sharks side from the 2008 prelim take the field for this match: Captain Paul Gallen and Blake Green, now the Storm five-eighth. Cooper Cronk is the only Storm player backing up from that game.
Lets get a little more technical now, from the tables below we can get a good idea on how the game may play out.
These two tables show us that the Sharks really need to lead at half time if they have any real chance of winning. On that same note Storm have won every m|atch this season when they had the lead at half time, except for a loss in round 4, to the Sharks.
The Sharks look like they are at their most dangerous 20 minutes before half time, which should help them slightly towards their goal to lead at half time.
Its nothing new to anyone when we say that Melbourne Storm have the best defense in the league but along with their solid wall defense they also have ball control that is second to none. The sharks on the other hand are going to have to rely on their attack to get the job done. However, looking at these stats there isn’t really a struck match between them. In fact the Storm are second only to the Raiders in line breaks. Further, the Storm are the second best metre gaining side in the competition. The Sharks can certainly go with them but it is very evenly matched.
Ok, now the bit that you all came here for. If youve read over everything above you would of realised by now that this is Storms game. The Sharks do have some stats in their faviour and they could win this game, but 9 our of every 10 times strom take this away and win the season.
Our free picks are –
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Storm v Sharks
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Swans v Bulldogs
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