2 days ago
Sharks v Storm preview
The 2016 Grand Final rematch is the nightcap on Good Friday as the Stormventure to the Shire to take on the battling Sharks.
Looking at the Storm and Sharks they represent the Spiderman meme where they point at each other going "I'm you". Both teams build their game on the grind with some class touches from backlines that can burn rubber.
Melbourne have just done Melbourne things, besides an abnormal loss to the Wests Tigers, it has been the usual for the Storm. They swatted away the Cowboys last Thursday and they seem to be fitting into the post Cronk life slowly like a divorcee after marriage.
The homethough can slice through that serenity as the Sharks match up well with the Storm. Their style in finding points through either their forwards or allowing their backline to roam troubles the rigid system of Melbourne. Sharks come into the weekend not without their own problems though as the big off-season splurge hasn't materalised.
After a pair of losses to start the season, Cronulla worked through the motions to beat the Eels with the lowest profile of their recruits - Trent Hodkinson - playing a steady role. They do welcome back Luke Lewis, who gets through a lot of work in the middle, which is needed against a Storm side that throws a lot at teams in a game that will be more graft than glamour.
Last meeting: Round 14 2017 - Sharks 13 Storm 18
Who to watch: Sharks had their best performance against the Eels, which came without off-season recruit, Matt Moylan. The five-eighth returns this week and needs to rediscover his running game as the chances will be at a premium against a strong Storm side, and the Sharks are still looking to fit all the pieces of the jigsaw in the right slots.
The Storm forwards did a sterling job on a much-fancied Cowboys pack. Now they face another top pack led by the mercurial Andrew Fifita and work horses, Paul Gallen and Luke Lewis - so hulking prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona and the Jesse Bromwich will need to both contain them and continue their offload game to tire them out.
The favourite: Melbourne continue to work quietly in the background and should have enough to see off the Sharks in a low-scoring contest.
My tip: On that basis I'm going the Storm by 6.
5. Valentine Holmes 2. Sosaia Feki 3. Jesse Ramien 4. Ricky Leutele 20. Edrick Lee 19. Trent Hodkinson 7. Chad Townsend 8. Andrew Fifita 9. Jayden Brailey 10. Matt Prior 11. Luke Lewis 12. Wade Graham 13. Paul Gallen 14. Kurt Capewell 15. James Segeyaro 16. Ava Seumanufagai 17. Joseph Paulo
1. Billy Slater 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Curtis Scott 5. Josh Addo-carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Joe Stimson 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Dale Finucane 14. Tim Glasby 16. Christian Welch 17. Sam Kasiano 21. Brandon Smith
Referees: Matt Cecchin, Alan Shortall; Sideline Officials: Brett Suttor, Kasey Badger; Video Referees: Jared Maxwell, Ben Galea;