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NRL ROUND 13

MELBOURNE STORM VS CANTERBURY BULLDOGS

SATURDAY AUGUST 8, 3 PM, SUNSHINE COAST STADIUM, BOKARINA

Life without long-time Captain, Cam Smith begins in this clash for the Storm, albeit only for a few weeks with a shoulder injury, which in itself is rare, at their adopted home stadium against a lowly but improving Dogs outfit.  Melbourne did enough to see off Newcastle last game, with a 10-point win, featuring star youngster Faasuamaleaui and Kenny Bromwich and Papenhuyzen.  Canterbury were gallant in defeat against the high-flying Eels, as they were edged by just 2 points in a Sunday thriller, where famously named Lewis and workhorse Tolman almost did enough to steal the boilover.  Some blowy showers are predicted for this game on what will be a bit of a wet track, but warm temperatures ought to ensure the players have plenty of opportunity to show their skills.

One Smith replaced the other in a show of riches for the Storm, with Brandon stepping into the Hooker role, while Papenhuyzen is another big out for them, with young Hynes replacing him in the Custodian role.  Olam returns to his Centre role, while Seve is out with an ear issue, while Jacks and former Warrior Albert Vete join the interchange bench.  Vete has just played 4 games since signing in 2018 with the Storm after battling injuries and form, despite his once key role for the New Zealand franchise for 46 games.  Inexplicably, Ogden starts ahead of Tolman for the Dogs, while Marshall-King joins him on the bench with Katoa getting the nod at Hooker.  Reimis Smith also comes into the side, replacing Jack Cogger in the utility bench position.

Canterbury do have a winning record against Melbourne, which is undoubtedly a fine achievement, but the Storm were too good for them in 2 matches in 2019.  In Round 4, it was tight, the Storm won by 2, thanks to the goal-kicking of Cam Smith and the class of Munster, while in round 11 it was a 4-tries-to-1 drubbing of the Doggies with the Fox (Addo-Carr) bagging a double.  Melbourne are at $1.18 to win this match, leaving Canterbury unwanted at $5.00, with a 13.5-points handicap line.  The Storm will need to be on their toes in this one, but have the class of Munster, and the imposing Forward pack to get the job done, especially now Jesse Bromwich is firing healthily again.

PREDICITON: Melbourne to win by around 12.

BETTING TIP: Canterbury have shown some quality lately, so the 1-12 Storm win might be paying coach Georgallis the respect due, and @$3.00 is worthwhile for punters.