Can the Penrith Panthers produce one of the biggest NRL upsets in recent memory or will the Melbourne Storm notch up their tenth consecutive victory? Join us for live scores from 7.30pm AEST.
Despite playing at home, Penrith have it all to do tonight against a Melbourne team that is yet to taste defeat this season.
The Storm’s last win saw them hold off a strong Warriors outfit en route to a 32-14 victory on ANZAC Day.
Despite the one-sided scoreline, Melbourne was made to work extremely hard against a Warriors pack that dominated their Storm counterparts.
But the Storm can absorb pressure better than any NRL side in the competition, and eventually punished New Zealand late in the contest to secure their ninth straight victory.
Penrith were awful against Newcastle on Monday night and will need to improve tenfold if they are to keep pace with Melbourne.
The Panthers are currently too one-dimensional in attack with every attacking play coming off Luke Walsh.
With Walsh out injured, Penrith will struggle immensely to crack a Storm defence that is well known for its ability to withstand enormous pressure.
Penrith will have to play the perfect match if they are to beat Melbourne tonight. They have to maintain discipline and keep errors to an absolute minimum.
The Panthers really struggled to build pressure against the Knights on Monday night, often making silly errors in good field position.
Such errors will not be acceptable tonight against the Storm. Craig Bellamy’s men are the most clinical side in the NRL and will make Penrith pay on the scoreboard if the home side fail to keep a hold of the football.
The kicking games of Panthers halves Travis Burns and Blake Austin will also be critical against Melbourne.
Penrith have to play the game in Storm territory and that means producing solid kick chases every time Billy Slater returns the football.
Penrith may also need to conjure up first points tonight, given that it will go a long way to perhaps installing the belief and confidence necessary to cause an unlikely upset.
If the Storm opens the scoring however, it will be a long night for the Panthers. Melbourne has an amazing winning record when leading at halftime and will most likely post a big victory if they produce another of their fast starts.
With Billy Slater, Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, James Widdop, Dane Nielson and Will Chambers all in superb touch, the Storm should start unbackable favourites tonight and should emerge with another comfortable victory.
Storm by 16.
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