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Knights vs Storm
NRL, 17 June, 2018
|McDonald Jones Stadium|
|Fulltime - Knights 10, Storm 28|
|Referee: Adam Gee|
|Touch judges: Ricky McFarlane & Chris McMillan|
|Video Referee: Steve Chiddy|
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It shapes as something of a mismatch when the Newcastle Knights host the Melbourne Storm, with the visitors expected to cruise through for another win. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 2pm (AEST).
The Knights biggest issue in 2018 has been their defence, although it seems to have turned a corner in the last fortnight.
In saying that, it’s impossible to get a read given those last two games have come against the Parramatta Eels, where they won 30-4, and a poor Sydney Roosters outfit, which resulted in an 18-16 loss.
Before those two games, the Knights got thumped at home on a Sunday afternoon by the Cronulla Sharks, with the Shire boys running up 48 points. That’s not a one-off either, with poor defensive performances littering their season – and that’s not something they can blame the injury of Mitchell Pearce on.
Sitting in 12th place, with the finals hopes still somewhat alive, the Knights are conceding an average of 26 points per game, which gives them the equal worst record in the competition.
Despite that, Kalyn Ponga has sparked their attack this season, with the young fullback a revelation. He has a chance to insert his dominance on this game as well, given the Storm are missing Billy Slater.
The superstar, who missed Origin 1 through injury was originally named to make a comeback this weekend, but removed from the squad 24 hours before kick-off having still not fully recovered.
In his place will be another youngster in Jahrome Hughes, with the battle between he and Ponga one we are likely to see multiple times over the coming years.
Other than the missing Slater, the Storm are more or less at full strength, minus Jesse Bromwich who injured himself in last week’s win over the Brisbane Broncos at home.
The 16-point victory for the Storm was a positive one as they controlled the second half. They have been in and out of games at times this year, with errors ruining them. They have been reduced to sixth on the ladder, but are still in a strong enough position and it looked last week like things were just starting to click.
Their defence, as it always has been is still pretty strong, but if they get their attack rolling this afternoon, like it did in the second half last week or in a 50-10 thumping off the Warriors six weeks ago, they will put a cricket score on.
The Storm are a quality footy side, even if they haven’t shown it at times this year. Newcastle won’t win this game, but could keep it respectable. Given what they have served up against good sides in recent times though, this could get a little bit ugly.
Storm by 26.
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