Round 23 in the NRL kicks off on Thursday night from Cbus Super Stadium with the Titans taking on the Storm from 7.50pm! As always, Greg Davis has you covered with a full preview and NRL tips for the clash below.
You should also check out our latest Before You Bet podcast where NRL guru Scooby breaks down every game of NRL Round 23 with his tips and multi of the week!
NRL Gold Coast Titans v Melbourne Storm Betting Tips
Cbus Super Stadium, Thursday 7.50pm
1.Jayden Campbell 2. Greg Marzhew 3. Brian Kelly 4. Patrick Herbert 5. Corey Thompson 6. Ashley Taylor 7. Jamal Fogarty 8. Jarrod Wallace 9. Erin Clark 10. Tino Fa'asuamaleaui 11. Kevin Proctor 12. David Fifita 13. Sam McIntyre. Interchange: 14. Tyrone Peachey 15. Sam Lisone 16. Jaimin Jolliffe 17. Beau Fermor. Reserves: 18. Phillip Sami 19. Mitch Rein 20. Esan Marsters 21. Herman Ese'ese
1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. George Jennings 3. Reimis Smith 4. Marion Seve 5. Josh Addo-Carr 6. Cameron Munster 7. Nicho Hynes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Christian Welch 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Chris Lewis. Interchange: 14. Jordan Grant 15. Tom Eisenhuth 16. Tepai Moeroa 17. Cooper Johns. Reserves: 18. Aaron Booth 19. Trent Loiero 20. Aaron Pene 21. Isaac Lumelume
QUESTION: What is worse than losing one of your most potent attacking weapons ahead of a clash with the reigning premiers?
Answer: When the defending champions reinstate one of their most lethal offensive threats for the very same match.
Yep, that’s the double-barrelled blow for the Gold Coast Titans ahead of their match-up with Melbourne at Robina’s Cbus Super Stadium this Thursday night.
To beat a team that is going for its 19th-straight win this season, you need all hands on deck but the Titans will be without star fullback AJ Brimson while the Storm will welcome back their first-choice fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen to the starting side.
Brimson suffered a hairline fracture in his jaw after running into the boot of Souths’ Latrell Mitchell last week and will be replaced by the very talented but very raw Jayden Campbell – son of foundation Titan Preston Campbell.
Papenhuyzen will be making his first start since the sickening concussion he copped during May’s Magic Round. He spent 10 weeks on the sidelines before making four appearances off the bench in the past month.
With regular halfback Jahrome Hughes (concussion) out of action, Nico Hynes will move from fullback to the no.7 jumper to partner Cam Munster in the Melbourne halves.
The Storm will also be without Dale Finucane (concussion), Brandon Smith (rested), Justin Olam (rested) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (rested/hamstring).
Melbourne were putting 40 points on opposition teams in their sleep for an extended period this season but have found the going tougher the past fortnight when they have had to dig deep for hard-earned wins over Manly and Canberra.
It would be impossible to maintain the exceptionally high standards that Melbourne did through the middle part – and then some – of the year.
Injuries have tested their depth and rival sides may have cottoned on to the best way of staying closer to the Storm with their right edge defence looking a little shaky.
Or maybe having run through the entire competition, Melbourne have gone off the boil ever-so-slightly because they are looking ahead to finals and the challenges that matter most in September.
Even with a re-jigged backline and a number of players rested, they will still apply the blowtorch to the Gold Coast’s flimsy defensive line. Souths put 36 on the Titans last week with the Gold Coast capable of providing the same amount of resistance as a wet paper bag at times this year.
The Titans had beaten the Dragons, Bulldogs and Cowboys in consecutive weeks to find themselves inside the top eight before being humbled by the Bunnies. The fact the Titans are in eighth spot ahead of Round 23 with a win-loss record of 9-12 speaks volumes for the gap between the top two or three teams and the rest of the competition in 2021.
The Gold Coast have dropped halfback Toby Sexton and recalled co-captain Jamal Fogarty while Erin Clark has replaced demoted hooker Mitch Rein. They will also be without Origin forward Moeaki Fotuaika.
Brimson is a major player in the Gold Coast’s attack. Without him, they won’t be able to score enough points to beat the Storm and their defence won’t be able to handle Melbourne who have smashed records in 2021 for their point-scoring prowess.
This could be the game where the reshuffled Storm re-discover their mojo. It could get ugly on the tourist strip.
Melbourne Storm -21.5
Other NRL Tips
First Try - Marion Seve ($15 at Sportsbet)
Try Anytime - Harry Grant ($2.63 at Sportsbet)
Total Points - Over 50.5 ($1.90 at Sportbet)