North Queensland Cowboys v Melbourne Storm
Saturday, July 30, 7.30pm (AEST), 1300 Smiles Stadium, Townsville
|Best Bet: Melbourne -1.5 ($1.90)
Other: Melbourne HT/FT ($2.50)
Tohu Harris First Try ($21.00)
A potential Grand Final preview with the Cowboys and Storm two of the three premiership favourites, this match will miss the game’s finest player with Johnathan Thurston ruled out through a hamstring injury. This is a big league battle though between two near complete teams.
North Queensland have lost Johnathan Thurston with Ray Thompson named as his replacement. Melbourne are unchanged.
North Queensland have a 12-6 record and enter this off their best performance of the year, a devastating 36-0 win over Canterbury where they played a near-perfect match. Their 25.7ppg is second-best in the NRL while their 14.1ppg conceded is also second best. The Cowboys have won three of their last four and have four shutouts this year. Melbourne are second on the ladder with a 15-3 record. They have the best defence in the premiership conceding a ridiculous 11.6ppg while they rank fourth in attack with 24.7ppg. The Storm have won four straight and 10 of their last 11. Melbourne have scored 20-plus in their last four having done so only six times all year previously.
Lachlan Coote v Cameron Munster. Coote and Munster are two very different types of fullback but both do huge amounts for their team. Coote is arguably the best kicking fullback in the game and he was relentless against Canterbury forcing repeat set after repeat set. Munster is a more explosive type who is one of the top tackle busters in the NRL. Melbourne will be looking for him to create sets with momentum.
Stats That Matter
North Queensland are 10-8 ATS with a 10-8 under record with Melbourne 11-7 ATS and a 12-6 under number. The Storm have covered 9 of their last 11. Night matches with a home underdog go over in 56% of matches R20-26 compared to 42% for the rest of the season. Away teams that scored 20+ last start cover at 55% v 45% the rest of the year. The Cowboys have covered 3 of their last 4 as a home underdog while the Storm have covered 5 of their last 8 as a road favourite. Melbourne have covered their last five as a road favourite of less than 4 points. Interstate night matches with a road favourite see that road favourite cover in 58% of matches.
North Queensland are 11-0 when up at halftime while Melbourne are 13-1 when leading at the break.
Melbourne are the bet in this one without Johnathan Thurston on board. These are the two teams most likely to meet in the Grand Final and the two most complete teams in the NRL. But without Thurston, the Cowboys are vulnerable and will struggle to breakdown the best defensive team in the premiership. With road teams off a good attacking record good bets the cherry on top, Melbourne laying a small start are the play.
How It’s Shaping Up
Melbourne by 6
Melbourne -1.5 ($1.90)
Melbourne HT/FT ($2.50)
Best First/Last Tryscorer
Tohu Harris ($21.00)
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