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In what could be shaping up as one of the most one-sided matches this season, the Melbourne Storm will look to sew up the minor premiership with a fortnight still to play when they take on the struggling Gold Coast Titans. Join The Roar for live scores and coverage from 2pm (AEST).
The Storm have been the benchmark this season, and playing the Titans at this point in the season on their home ground could be a recipe for disaster in terms of a competitive match.
When the sides met on the Gold Coast just over a month ago, the Titans were in their first week with a new coach and Melbourne were missing a number of stars. Despite scoring the first two tries though, the home side on that occasion still managed to get beaten 38 points to 18.
If the eventual margin is only 20 points this time around though, the Storm either weren’t at their best, or the Titans turned up and put a good performance in.
The Gold Coast have basically clocked out on footy for this year. Their defence up the middle third has been soft as butter, their attack not much better, and players at the club clearly wanting to be elsehwere.
They haven’t been helped in the middle third by a couple of key injuries, but it’s been an abysmal season, and there is a genuine feeling that Sunday afternoon might be the day to just sum it all up for the Titans and their fans.
Melbourne, as mentioned, are the benchmark, and are now at that point in the season where they will take no prisoners as they build for September.
Incredibly, this is a side who had the minor premiership all but wrapped up six weeks ago and haven’t lost a game by more than four points all season, no matter who they have come up against.
One suspects they might be in a mood as well. They had the high-flying Canberra Raiders on the ropes last weekend at 18-0 up, before being mowed down to lose by four.
The Storm always come out firing after a loss, and the Titans will be nothing more than training cones and a rabbit in the headlights for the purple machine as Cameron Munster and Cameron Smith work their magic on the back of a dominant forward pack.
This is going to be ugly. I don’t like tipping big numbers, but it’s almost no choice here. My tip, even at this level, could be a conservative one.
Storm by 32.
Be sure to join The Roar for live coverage of the match from 2pm (AEST) and don’t forget to add a comment in the section below.
Kick-off: 2pm (AEST)
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
TV: Live, Fox League 502
Online: Live, Foxtel App, Foxtel Now, Kayo Sports, NRL Digital Pass
Betting: Storm $1.04, Titans $11
Overall record: Played 20, Storm 14, Titans 6
Last meeting: Round18, 2019, Titans 18 defeated by Storm 38 at CBus Super Stadium
Last five: Storm 4, Titans 1
Record at venue: Played 6, Storm 5, Titans 1
Referees: Chris Butler, Dave Munro
1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 3. Will Chambers 4. Justin Olam 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Dale Finucane
Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tui Kamikamica 16. Joe Stimson 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen 18. Curtis Scott 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Max King 21. Harry Grant
Gold Coast Titans
1. Michael Gordon 2. Jesse Arthars 3. Kallum Watkins 4. Brian Kelly 5. Phillip Sami 6. Tyrone Peachey 7. Ryley Jacks 8. Moeaki Fotuaika 9. Mitch Rein 10. Jai Arrow 11. Kevin Proctor 12. Sam Stone 13. Nathan Peats 14. Alexander Brimson 15. Jai Whitbread 16. Jarrod Wallace 17. Brenko Lee 18. Bryce Cartwright 19. Tanah Boyd 20. Anthony Don 21. Jack Stockwell