By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 13 – Melbourne Storm V Cronulla Sutherland Sharks – Sunday, AAMI Park. 18.30 local time, 20.30 NZ time.
LAST WEEK: Both teams took a break with an easy two-points from the bye.
THIS WEEK: Melbourne fans will need to be out in force to help their club through a little thin match of form. Back to knuckling down, this team needs to start playing to its obvious potential.
Cronulla have had a mixed season, but with their personnel they have to start delivering week in, week out. A huge match against second placed Melbourne is the right place to put the foot down.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Everyone knows that the Storm’s success revolves around the best players in the team, which just happens to be their entire squad. Though, their spine are the clinchers, all Origin and Kangaroo representatives, they need to combine together and find that spark which has been lacking. Whether it’s an inside ball from Cronk to Slater, or a nifty dummy half run by Smith. It’s been non-existent lately.
Sharks may have started the season with ASADA right in their fins, but this has not affected their game play whatsoever. A young bunch of guys with an obvious passion for league, and a tight-nit group of players who are bringing the best out of each other. A tough opponent means the Sharks will be ready.
THE BATTLE OF: Sublime sevens. Cooper Cronk is up there as the most desirable player in the game, and his timing and leadership is exactly the type of goodies you want in a player. He can be nuggety and tough, but can show you all his flair too. One of a kind.
Jeff Robson may not exactly stand out on a footy field as a player that makes impact, but he does. I assure you. Todd Carney is his partner in crime, but Robson can easily stand alone as an influential figure in this Cronulla side.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Kevin Proctor – I think he’s having the best season in his career, and is working tirelessly each and every week.
Andrew Fifita – Fresh from making his Origin debut, he will still have that buzz about him which can bring so much more to his game which has already increased ten fold since joining the Sharks.
PREDICTION: The Storm have had some time off to refresh their bodies and come together once again as a team. Their Origin players have been battered and bruised but will rise for the occasion. I would love to pick Cronulla, but I just don’t think I can. Melbourne to win 18-14.
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