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2021 NRL Round 2: Eels vs Storm Preview & Betting Tips

March 18th 2021, 10:04am, By: Greg Davis

NRL Round 2 Eels vs Storm Betting Tips

Round 2 in the 2021 NRL season kicks off on Thursday night as the Parramatta Eels square off against the Melbourne Storm in a rematch of the high scoring finals meeting last season. Once again, our newest NRL expert Greg Davis is back to preview the game in full and give his betting tips for the clash below. 

Greg is a sports writer with over 25 years experience covering NRL, State of Origin, AFL, Super Rugby and more for a variety of news and media outlets. Follow Greg on Twitter at @GregDavis006.

2021 NRL Round 2: Eels vs Storm Betting Tips

Bankwest Stadium, Thursday, March 18th 8.05pm (AEDT)

Ch 9, Fox League, Kayo

ONE question will dictate the result of Thursday night’s Round 2 clash between Parramatta and Melbourne at Bankwest Stadium. Which Eels squad will show up?

If it’s the Parramatta side that steamrolled over an injury-hit Brisbane with 24 unanswered points in the second half at Suncorp Stadium last Friday night, then we might have a game on our hands.

If it’s the fumbling and bumbling Eels team that could not catch a cold in the first 40 minutes to give up a 16-0 lead to the Broncos at the break, then the Storm will have their way with Parramatta.

Melbourne were electrifying in the first 30 minutes of the season-opener against Souths last Thursday night, opening up a match-winning 22-0 buffer.

Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen was as ridiculous as his haircut, doing everything but sell hot dogs at AAMI Park. Tries, goals or pinpoint passes that put teammates into space, he was everywhere.

The Eels defensive line should be on high alert when they see Papenhuyzen sweep around to one side of the field and inject himself into the Melbourne backline.

Parramatta should also be concerned with the messaging out of the Storm after their Round 1 win. Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and his players talked about the oodles of room for improvement. That would have been rammed home at training this week.

The Storm had 62 percent of possession with a completion rate of 78 percent. They would want the completion rate number to be closer to 85 percent. They missed 34 tackles with three of Souths’ tries being given up by their inexperienced right-edge defence.

They also got generally sloppy and went off the boil in the second half to give the Rabbitohs a sniff.

Melbourne’s great strength has always been that the gap between their best and worst football is not that great. For some clubs, that gap can be like the Grand Canyon but the Storm will always give a strong effort even if the execution is lacking at times.

The drop-off in intensity was understandable given it was Melbourne’s first 80 minutes of the post-Cam Smith era but the premiership-winning purple powerhouse will not tolerate another dangerous fade-out.

If Parramatta serve up another diabolic first half, the Storm will put 40 points on them and there will be no way back for the Eels.

Parramatta did well to snap out of that first-half funk and put the Broncos to the sword but last season’s wooden spooners were reduced to one player on the interchange bench for most of the second half.

And remember too that the score was still only 18-16 in Parramatta’s favour going into the final minute when barnstorming Eels prop Junior Paulo crashed over to blow the margin out.

Even though they will be at home where they play their best football, the Eels will have to lift appreciably to beat the Storm. They face a big step-up in opposition class, going from the worst to first from 2020. Modern history is on the side of the Storm too. Melbourne have won five of the last six clashes between these two clubs.

Head-to-Head: Melbourne 24, Parramatta 14

Last Meeting: 2020 Finals Series, Week 1. Storm 36-24

Melbourne Storm 1-12

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Justin Olam First Try

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