Just the one game in the NRL this Saturday as the Melbourne Storm square off against the Gold Coast Titans up North. As always, Scooby is back on deck with a full preview and betting tips for the Saturday night fixture below.
Sunshine Coast Stadium, Saturday 7.35pm (AEST)
The Storm have had plenty of time to prepare for this match after a dominant 40-12 victory over the Broncos. Barely troubled, the Storm lead 16-nil at HT and this was extended to 28-nil inside the first 10 minutes of the second half. There was no doubt that the two teams were not evenly matched, and the Broncos never had the opportunity to get into the contest. The Storm dominated the middle, running for 608m more than the Broncos at 9.8m per carry, made 8 line breaks (to just 1 for the Broncos) and had 44 tackle breaks. A concern would be the 70% completion rate with 12 errors, but the job was already finished before this had a chance to impact their game.
The Titans would kill for such execution in their matches, with yet another inconsistent effort letting their team down. This time, it has at the hands of the Sharks as they were defeated 38-10 by a team with just 3 wins to their name. Hopes were high early though, scoring inside 3 minutes; although, the result was all but decided as the Sharks were ahead 26-6 at HT. Yet again, the Titans were reminded of how far they still need to develop. They also only have themselves to blame; with just 46% possession, they completed at 75%, made fewer metres and post contact metres, allowed 11 line breaks (made just 6), missed 49 tackles and committed 11 total errors. At this stage of the season, a dramatic shift is needed to rescue their 2021 Finals hopes. It doesn’t get any easier here either. Even if the Storm are missing key players, the attitude of the Titans leaves a lot to be desired from this team.
Head-to-Head = Storm 16 Titans 6
At Sunshine Coast Stadium = Storm 100% Titans 0%
Last 10 Matches = Storm 9 Titans 1 – The average winning margin is 18.9 points for the Storm, while the Titans have their sole victory by 2-points. History is against them; the Titans have won just 3 of their past 17 matches between these two teams.
Given their performances so far this year, it is hard to believe that the Storm only have 2 players (from last week) on Origin duty and the Titans have 4 players unavailable; that anomaly is due to Grant and Munster being unavailable in recent weeks. Nevertheless, the Storm are still strong favourites for this match and only have 1 regular player from their spine lining up for this match. The relocation to the Sunshine Coast will only serve the Storm well as they performed well here last year. They have never been defeated at this ground (6 from 6) and defeated the Titans in their only match here last year.
The loss of crucial middle forwards for the Titans and a fullback that added spark, only further hurts the visitors. This is a team which was already struggling for consistency and conceded 38 points last week against the Sharks. This should be a straightforward result. The Storm execute at a higher level than their opponents and have a strong pack of forwards still at their disposal. The most difficult decision is deciding on a margin of victory and the bookies are tempting punters by offering a line of 23.5 points. Considering the large margin of victory in 2021 and the Storms history of dismantling the Titans, this game could be yet another step backwards for a team which has lost 5 out of their past 7 matches. Even with their attacking weapons missing, expect Hughes and Hines to combine for plenty of sweeping movements. Perhaps the ‘Suggested Bet’ is a little over zealous, but with the Titans execution thus far, it is hard to see them keeping pace with their opponents.
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