Cronulla Sharks Vs Melbourne Storm
8 June 2017, 7:50pm (AEST)
Southern Cross Group Stadium
The second replay of last years grand final and a mini state of origin rematch is awaiting the eager fans of the NRL. Can the Sharks Shut out the Storm again? Or will the Storm get its revenge away from home? Needless to say, it’s going to be a Bobby Dazzler!!!
Cronulla Sharks, 9-0-3, 2nd.
Blink and you have missed their start to the season, nothing flash but they have built a “Blue Wall” to rival the Great Wall of China.
The Sharks had the round off last week, which was excellent for the Origin players, allowing full recover and mental preparation for this week’s block buster. We are still yet to see the Sharks replicate their attacking prowess of last year, however they have maintained the defensive structures the best to date. They have conceded a measly 154 points from 12 rounds, an average of 12.84 a game, making them the best team in this category. This is traditionally how you win premierships and there is a growing belief that this team could go “back to back” premiership winners.
Their game style of grinding teams down has allowed them to get away with not scoring a great deal of points. Unbelievably only 227 points to date, the 5th “worst” attacking team, with an average of 18.91 per game. Confusing for the younger generation who are in love with Try Scorers and fancy plays. The Sharks have this ability, however are still a tad off from piling on the points. It could be attributed to a new Full back and Hooker and to be fair, they lost two very influential players in those spots.
For us, watch the forwards battle. There is a genuine building hatred/rivalry between these two clubs and both forwards don’t mind a bit of “chatting/sledging” on the park. Add in the recent NSW victory to add a bit more Fire as the Origin players try to step up another level.
Melbourne Storm, 10-0-2, 1st.
The Purple machine just keeps on rolling, reminding the competition that they are the Bench mark once again through 13 rounds in 2017.
Last round it was a “contact training run” vs a Newcastle Knights team that didn’t stand a chance and allowed the Storm to rest C. Smith. In recent trips to AAMI park, the Knights have caused an upset. However the Storms fans were put at ease just two minutes in with S. Vunivalu crossing for a try. By the 17th minute it was 16-0, a lucky/unlucky decision for the Knights saw their momentum stopped by a forward pass, the Storm looked comfortable at Half Time 16-6.
Any chance of a come back was quickly squashed with some Slater magic in the 43rd minute. The game was beyond the Knights by the 62nd minute, down 36-6, which allowed C. Cronk an early shower. Slater was outstanding, another reminder to Qld selectors that maybe he should be in the team.
The Storm Averages 23.16 in attacking points (4th best) and are the second best team in defending, only allow on average 14.75 in defence. They will need to score close to 18 points to beat the Sharks this round.
For us, like the Sharks, the forwards won’t back down and with C. Smith rested, he will be chomping at the bit to get revenge for this years defeat at his home ground. He won’t back down, especially if P. Gallen is “chatting” to him all match.
It’s going to be clearing from thunder storms, from the last two days, this will make the forwards battle even more important. Keeping the game to the middle third of the ground and limiting scoring chances.
Stats that matter:
Games vs Top 8 Won/Loss – Sharks, 6 games, 4/2, Storm 4 games, 3/1
Possession Average – Sharks 51%, Storm 48%
Completion rate – Sharks 74%, Storm 76%
Average run meters – Sharks 1,648m, Storm 1,541m
Average Errors – Sharks 12, Storm 11
Team news: (Final team lists released an hour before the game)
All 4 NSW players return and J. Segeyaro is a slight chance to return after he broke his arm vs the last time these two teams met.
C. Smith is a Massive In for the Storm, with B. Smith dropping out of the team, suggesting C. Smith isn’t injured or is going to play through this pain. Coach Bellamy has gone for the size of J. McLean to start, pushing Glasby and Griffin onto the bench.
Both teams have gone for large bench positions, once again both coaches expecting a tight middle third game.
Their last 5 game report card:
Cronulla Sharks won 3 games, once at Southern Cross Group stadium.
Melbourne Storm won 2 games, once at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
2017 – Round 6 – Sharks won by 9 at AAMI Park.
2016 – Grand Final – Sharks won by 2 at ANZ stadium.
2016 – Round 26 – Melbourne won by 20 at AAMI Park.
2016 – Round 4 – Sharks won by 8 at Southern Cross Group Stadium.
2015 – Round 23 – Storm won by 28 at Southern Cross Group stadium.
What we take from this?
Both teams will be up for this game, the Storm rested their captain with an eye on this game after their loss in Melbourne earlier in the year. The Sharks were lucky with the week off allowing their stars to recover well before this clash.
We are expecting fire works as this “Modern day Rivalry” enters another chapter into the history books.
The Storm will need to hit their average in attack, as their last 4 matches vs the Sharks they have been held too 2, 12,26 and 6. Losing 3 out of those games being held to 12 or less.
For Us the statistics that stand out for the Sharks to win is their average possession rate and average run meters. The Sharks with the week off also is a plus, really allowing the coaching staff to dial into this game and get their structures in place.
Another cracking game awaits, Sharks win in a close encounter.
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