Melbourne to beat Canberra

Remember last year's finals?

It was Week 1, the Storm trailed the Raiders 12-10 with a couple of minutes remaining. Melbourne went with the short kick off which was spectacularly regathered by Suliasi Vunivalu.

The touch judge put his flag up, he thought Vunivalu had put his hand into touch.

He had not.

Melbourne were denied the opportunity to have one last crack at and lost the game.

They meet again in this year's final, this time a preliminary final.

Earlier this year, the Storm beat the Raiders by 6 points in Round 9. That was the game Josh Hodgson blew his knee out.

In this crazy COVID world, they'll duke this one out at Suncorp Stadium, you'd imagine that the Storm would have a fair amount of the crowd support.

Betting markets have Melbourne ($1.47) a firm favourite and I think they'll got that about right.

The spine for Melbourne has been simply irresistible all year. Papenhuyzen and Munster combining through the middle, Jahrome Hughes has continued to improve with some wonderful performances and what else do you say about Cameron Smith?

Is this his last hurrah? Only he probably knows the answer to that right now.

But it's the Storm pack that is seriously underrated. Don't get me wrong, they'll need to be good this week against Josh Papalii and his crew in order to the lay the platform up front, but there's no doubt Bellyache will have them ready.

Both these sides have played their games in patches in recent weeks. This game will come down to who is able to consistently execute for the 80 minutes.

Enter Cameron Smith, it'll be his experience, his calm head under pressure and his leadership that'll get the job done for Melbourne on Friday night.

Perhaps the narrative next week may well be that as the Storm prepare for a showdown with the Panthers in the Grand Final, that Cameron Smith announces his retirement, wouldn't that set the stage for a mouthwatering GF.

This'll be tight for most of it, expecting a fairly low scorer but the Storm will edge away late with too many options in their arsenal.

Storm by 10.


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