NRL betting (round 14 for June 8): Latest chapter in Storm, Sharks rivalry

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Updated: June 7, 2017

The top two teams on the table and the NRL Grand Finalists from last year meet in a highly-anticipated Thursday night encounter at Shark Park. The Sharks sit second on the ladder and have won four straight and eight of their past nine while opponents the Melbourne Storm sit atop the ladder with a 10-2 record with one of those losses coming at home to Cronulla in round 6. James Potter from bigjimwins.com, our NRL expert, expects another low scoring affair tonight.

 

NRL round 14: Cronulla Sutherland Sharks (9-2) v Melbourne Storm (5-6)
Where: Southern Cross Group Stadium, Cronulla, NSW
When: Thursday, June 8, 7.50pm (AET)
Line: Sharks -4.5, O/U 30

Confirmed bets: Sharks WIN (Ladbrokes NRL Bet Blast @ $2.30), -30/total (one unit @ $1.90)

TIW says: Cronulla and Melbourne are set to renew hostilities once more this season on Thursday night to kick-off round 14 in the race for Telstra Premiership. It doesn’t get much better than a Grand Final replay with the combatants occupying the top two spots on the ladder. The Sharks, including their Origin stars (Jack Bird, Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham and James Maloney) will be fresh off their bye, while the Storm will welcome back skipper Cameron Smith after he missed last week’s big 40-12 win over the Knights. But Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk won’t face the Sharks.

Cronk featured in Melbourne’s big win over Newcastle last Friday night, less than 48 hours after playing for Queensland in the opening match of the State of Origin series. Given this clash would have been Cronk’s third game in eight days, the decision was made to rest the premiership-winning halfback. Billy Slater and Jordan McLean will be determined to impress selectors for their respective state outfits. Maroons coach Kevin Walters suggested this week Slater is on the brink of an Origin recall for a must-win Game 2. The 33-year-old Queensland legend was sensational for the Storm last week.

 

Without their Origin stars, the Sharks overcame an 8-0 deficit to earn a gritty one-point win at home over the Bulldogs in round 12 before a deserved bye last week. Cronulla boast the NRL’s best defence, allowing just 154 points (Melbourne’s 177 points conceded ranks second). The Sharks have conceded more than 20 points just once this season, and that came in round 1 against the Broncos. Since then, the only team to score more than 16 points against Cronulla were the Knights in round 5. It’s the second meeting between the two sides in 2017.

The Sharks handed the Storm the first of their two losses this season in round 6 at AAMI Park (pictured above). On a wet and dour day, Cronulla ground out an 11-2 win after the scores had been deadlocked at 2-2 with 10 minutes to play. James Segyaro pounced on a fortunate grubber to seal the result. Conditions will be similar tonight after heavy rain in Sydney over recent days (with more forecast today). Cronulla have won two of the past three over the Storm at Shark Park while the past five between these side have all failed to break 32 points.

 

 

• Selections are listed in three categories – 1) Suggested (likely bet but yet to be finalised); 2) Confirmed (locked in at the price listed); and 3) Leans (tips, but not recommended bets); all times quoted are Australian Eastern Time (AET); best AU price available is quoted, correct at time of publication. Results/comments on this week’s games will follow in the next post.

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