The Gold Coast Titans will look to win their first Monday night game in almost three years, when they take on a Melbourne Storm side that is missing a host of experience though Origin. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7.00pm AEST.
While the Gold Coast will be thankful for the eight day turnaround coming off a six-point loss to South Sydney in tough and humid conditions in Cairns last Sunday afternoon, they will need to improve on their less than impressive 12.9 ppg average against Melbourne if they have any chance of knocking off the defending Premiers.
On the other hand, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy will be hoping the loss of Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Cameron Smith and Ryan Hoffman won’t be to much for his side to overcome.
The Storm were forced to come from behind last week against the Knights at AAMI Park, falling behind 14-4 early on in the match before a try in the closing stages to Billy Slater secured the victory.
A win by the Gold Coast could see them sit just one point shy of the top four, while Melbourne will have the chance to leapfrog South Sydney if results go their way, as they go in search for their second minor premiership in just three years.
While the Titans will be without Nate Myles and Greg Bird through Origin, they still have one of the biggest forward packs in the competition, with the inclusion of Mark Minichiello to the starting lineup sure to lift the home side.
Despite a loss to South Sydney last week, the Gold Coast attack has been firing of late, averaging just over 32 points a game over the last month of football, as they try and improve on their 4-2 record at Skilled Park in 2013.
Although the loss of Cronk, Slater, Smith and Hoffman would be enough to derail any clubs chances, Melbourne have been in this situation before and somehow continually find a way to be one of the most successful clubs of the past decade.
Having said this, if Melbourne are going to extend their current three match winning streak, they are going to have to do it behind ageing halfback Brett Finch and debutant Ben Hampton, who has been named at five-eighth.
In the end, I think the loss of the Big Three and Ryan Hoffman will be too much for Melbourne to overcome.
The Gold Coast have to many key players still in their side, and with the match being played at Skilled Park, I don’t see the Titans having to much trouble taking down the Storm.
Gold Coast by 10.