Storm v Knights preview
Newcastle Knights will be looking to snap a nine match losing streak in Melbourne as they take on the Storm on Sunday afternoon at AAMI Park.
The Storm has a good history against the Knights at any venue, having won 11 of the past 13 matches between the two sides.
But it gets even worse when they travel to the Storm’s backyard. The Knights have not beaten Melbourne away since a 10 point win at the Storm’s old home ground, Olympic Park, way back in Round 2 of the 2004 season.
After two surprise losses to the Raiders and Panthers, the defending premiers have rediscovered some scintillating form. An imperious 38-6 thrashing of the Sharks has seen betting markets put the Storm back into favouritism ($3.75), just ahead of the Rabbitohs, to defend their Premiership.
Craig Bellamy has kept an unchanged 17 but they’ll be forced to make changes in their next match against the Titans because their stars – Cameron Smith, Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Ryan Hoffman – will be in Origin camp preparing for Game 2. So Bellamy will be keen to secure another strong win while he has his best players at his disposal.
The Knights, on the other hand, have hit a road block. After an impressive 5-2 start to the season, Newcastle then lost five of their next six including three in a row to slip out of the top eight heading into Sunday’s match.
Smith, Cronk and Slater were rested for most of the week and only returned to training on Friday, so they’ll be freshened up after playing two games in four days last week.
David Fa’alogo is out of the Knights team for at least a month after he suffered a knee injury at training on Monday. Hooker Danny Buderus and winger Akuila Uate are outside possibilities to return, with Wayne Bennett to make a call on the pair closer to match day.
Can the Knights end a nine year drought in Melbourne? Against a full-strength and in-form Storm? I don’t think so.
Storm by 14.