By Stephen Gallagher
MATCH OF THE ROUND: ROUND 22 – Melbourne Storm V South Sydney Rabbitohs – Friday, AAMI Park. 19.45 local time, 21.45NZT.
LAST WEEK: Melbourne racked up the biggest victory of the season with a hapless assault in Canberra 68-4
South Sydney suffered another loss and knocked off the top spot after going down 30-12 against the North Queensland Cowboys.
THIS WEEK: The Storm have been having a tough run of late, but looked nothing of the sort last week. It’s always the biggest and toughest games that bring the best out of the club. At home, in front of their AFL loving fans who’ve possibly turned up to the wrong stadium, will be a big motivating factor after a tough run away from home. A big test. South Sydney weeks ago looked like runaway Minor Premiers, but the Storm will definitely have a say in that.
Rabbitohs players will be very happy with their performance this season, but revenge over a Round 6 loss at home against Melbourne will be the motivating factor for a clincher win this week. A team who’ve been bonded tight in brotherhood (mainly because the club has four Burgess brothers) will not go down in flames. They have the firepower to match whatever Melbourne possesses.
WHAT TO EXPECT: Really you could say Melbourne have fallen over recent weeks, but the quality of football they played last week was phenomenal. Have teams now just learnt to win gritty against them? Either way, Bellyache will be fired up for possibly the biggest clash of the season. I think the forwards have let this team down a little bit lately, so a raging Storm up front could be a torrent of bad times for the Rabbitohs if they get some great go-forward.
Souths are one big unit. They’re the only team I have seen this season that no matter where or who has scored a try, all thirteen team mates are in there celebrating it together. Is this a signal for their success? There’s a lot of pressure on them in this one, AAMI Park is a hard place to win at. Even more so when injuries are playing a big part in your results. No room for complacency as they need to front up the most they have this season.
THE BATTLE OF: Old heads off the bench. Jason Ryles has had an illustrious career which has seen him play for Saint George to travelling to the South of France. His experience is a big boost for the young kids out there and he never gives up.
Roy Asotasi. Roy seems likely to finish his career in the NRL a Rabbitoh, as he’s heading to the Super League at the end of this season. He gives a lot of wise words to his team mates, as well as a proper performance each and every week.
KEEP YOUR EYE ON: Sisa Waqa – A talented player who at times likes to hold on to the ball a little too much, but when he’s in space he can go. Even when he’s being marked he has put a few defenders on their ass more than once..
Adam Reynolds – Wise above his years, talent coming out of his ears and skill to end the world. Watched this kid come through the NYC and now he’s almost two full years through his NRL career and is yet to put a foot wrong. Dangerous talent.
Well this is going to leave a few bodies on the floor after 80 minutes. The Rabbitohs have momentum, but the Storm need to win this to remain in the top four. Storm to prevail 26-10..
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