|NRL Preview – Preliminary Finals
Melbourne Storm v Brisbane Broncos
Friday, September 22, 7:55pm (AEST) at AAMI Park, Melbourne
|Best: Melbourne 1-12 ($2.80)
Other: Over 36 ($1.90)
The Broncos will have to pick themselves up quickly to take on the minor premiers after a torrid 13-6 victory over the Panthers which saw Wayne Bennett’s men finish the match with only 14 players. Corey Oates was involved in a sickening clash with teammate Anthony Milford and would appear long odds to take his spot for the clash against the Storm. Both Jai Arrow and Sam Thaiday were also concussed against the Panthers and will need to go through the necessary protocol to take their spot in the final 17. However, the Broncos should be boosted by the return of skipper Darius Boyd from a hamstring injury, with either Kodi Nikorima or Benji Marshall moving back to the bench. The Broncos can’t afford to get into the grind with the Storm and will need to play expansive football if they’re to breakdown the Storm’s brickwall defence. Meanwhile, the Storm are firing on all cylinders and would have enjoyed the week off, while the battered Broncos went toe-to-toe with the Panthers to keep their season alive. The Storm have dominated the Broncos in recent times and will be looking to make amends for last year by booking their spot in the grand final and going one better against either the Roosters or Cowboys.
The Storm have dominated the Broncos, winning 22 of their last 27 meetings including two wins of 30-plus in the last four matches. The Storm did the double over the Broncos earlier in the season, winning the Round 3 clash by 14-12 in Melbourne and followed it up with a dominant win in Brisbane in Round 17 by 42-12. The Storm had three players (Suliasi Vunivalu, Curtis Scott and Josh Addo Carr) score doubles in the 30-point win. Josh Addo-Carr has scored four tries in three games against Brisbane.
Melbourne are the clear best team in the NRL after finishing the season runaway minor premiers and ranking first in both scoring and defence. They have won eight straight and have not conceded more than 16 points in any of those matches. Melbourne have won eight of their last nine at AAMI Park. Melbourne have scored 30-plus in three of their last four. Brisbane finished the year in third position with the second best attack and the fourth ranked defence. The Broncos have been less than convincing throughout the finals with a close loss to the Roosters before a gritty 13-6 victory over Penrith at home. The Broncos have not scored more than 22 in their last three.
Stats That Matter
– Melbourne are 14-11 ATS with a 13-12 under record while Brisbane are 15-11 ATS with an 18-8 over record.
– The Storm have dominated the Broncos, winning 22 of their last 27 meetings including two wins of 30-plus in the last four matches.
– Brisbane have won two of the last three meetings in Melbourne though.
– Three of the last four matches have topped 40 points.
– Josh Addo-Carr has scored four tries in three games against Brisbane.
– The over is 8-2 in preliminary finals over the last five seasons.
– Melbourne have covered just 5 of their last 13 at AAMI Park.
– The Storm have covered 4 of their last 6 as a double digit favourite at AAMI.
– The Storm have covered 7 of their last 11 after being held to 18 or fewer.
– Brisbane are 24-16 ATS interstate since 2014 but as an underdog of more than a converted try they are 2-5 ATS.
– Brisbane are 6-3 ATS interstate after being held to 14 or fewer.
– The Broncos are 15-11 ATS after conceding 10 points or fewer.
– Double digit favourites are 2-4 ATS in finals since 2008.
– Melbourne have covered just 2 of their last 8 finals games while Brisbane have covered 5 of their last 7.
The Storm are playing with a chip on their shoulder after last year’s grand final loss to the Sharks and won’t let this opportunity slip, especially with one of their favourite sons in Cooper Cronk farewelling the club after this finals campaign. The Broncos will be boosted by the return of their skipper Darius Boyd and his experience will be invaluable here. In saying all of that, it’s impossible to ignore the Storm’s dominant record over the Broncos dating back to 2004. The Broncos have performed well recently in Melbourne and only went down by two points back in Round 3. The Wolf is backing the Storm to book their spot in a consecutive grand final with a win by a margin of 1-12 points.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 6
Melbourne 1-12 ($2.80)
Other Recommended Bets
Other: Over 36 ($1.90)
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