NRL Melbourne Storm vs Canberra Raiders Live Streaming Free National Rugby League Final Week 29 match will be kick off at AAMI Park Stadium, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, Saturday 24 September 2016 online, Time 20:00 pm (AEDT) and its broadcast on Channel Nine, Fox Sports, FOX Sports 2 & FOX Soccer Plus,Premier Sports.
Melbourne Storm are back where they belong, playing in their 8th preliminary in 11 seasons, and they will meet the only team not to play in one during the NRL era, the Canberra Raiders. This is David and Goliath with a Grand Final berth on the line.
Christian Welch comes in for Nelson Asofa-Solomona on the Storm bench. The Raiders are unchanged.
Melbourne and Canberra have played on 37 occasions with the Storm victorious on 26 occasions to the Raiders’ 11. In Melbourne, the Storm have won 13 of 17. After Canberra won just twice between 2003 and 2011, the Raiders have actually won 4 of the last 7 against the Storm including wins in Melbourne in 2012 and ’13. The teams have played just twice over the last two seasons with the Storm winning 14-10 in Canberra in 2015 and the Raiders winning 22-8 in Canberra this year. Melbourne’s biggest win and Canberra’s biggest loss came in 2013 when the Storm won 68-4 in 2013. Storm coach Craig Bellamy played 11 seasons and 149 games for the Raiders. Joey Leilua has scored 9 tries in 10 games against the Storm. Craig Bellamy has lost to Ricky Stuart just three times since the start of the 2005 season.
Melbourne won the minor premiership and were the standard-bearers all season with a 19-5 record and a +261 differential. The Storm have again topped the defensive rankings conceding only 12.5ppg while they rank fourth in attack with 23.2ppg. Since Round 11, the Storm rank third in attack with 23.7ppg while they were the top defensive team conceding 12.5ppg. They have dropped 2 of their last 5 but had won six on end prior and dominated premiers North Queensland in the first week of the finals. Canberra soared to second on the ladder on the back of 10 straight victories before losing to Cronulla in the first week of the finals. They finished the season with a 17-6-1 record and a +232 differential while they ranked first in attack with 28.8ppg (4.5ppg more than second placed North Queensland) and seventh in defence (19.0ppg). Since Round 11 they have averaged 30.9ppg in attack (1st) while conceding 16.8ppg (3rd). The Raiders have scored 26-plus in 12 of their last 16 and enter this off a tough win over Penrith. The Raiders have not conceded more than 18 in 7 of their last 8.
Cameron Smith v Josh Hodgson. The two best hookers of 2016 and arguably the two most important players on their respective teams. Smith is the greatest hooker the game has ever known. He sets the tone defensively and is so important as a leader that he can dictate the energy and pace of a match. Hodgson has been the breakout star of this year. He is Canberra’s most creative spine player and he gets through a mountain of work. He is carrying an ankle injury but has shown he can play through the pain.
Melbourne are 15-10 ATS with a 17-8 under record while Canberra are 16-10 ATS with a 16-10 over number. The Storm have covered 3 of their last 4 and have gone under in 7 of their last 9. The Raiders have covered 6 of their last 8. Home teams are just 9-7 with an 8-8 ATS record in preliminary finals since 2008 with 11 straight decided by a margin of 6 or more with 8 of the last 9 decided by double digits. Outsiders have won just 4 of the last 16 preliminary finals, with favourites going 11-5 ATS. Eight of the last nine preliminary finals have gone over. Since 2008, Melbourne are 9-9 ATS in finals matches with a 13-5 under record. Canberra are 3-4 ATS with a 5-2 over number. Since 2008 finals matches have gone under at a rate of 58%. The under is 56-36 when a finals team conceded 16 or fewer the game prior. Since 2011, teams with a break of 11 or more days are 3-7 ATS. The Storm are 0-5 ATS in finals since 2008 when favoured by more than a converted try but home favourites of more than a converted try are 16-13 ATS over that time in finals. Finals favourites of more than a converted try are 6-9 ATS with a 10-5 under number after conceding 14 or fewer points. Interstate outsiders are 5-10 ATS after conceding 14 points or fewer in finals. The Storm have gone under in 15 of their last 17 home games and 13 of 14 home night games after conceding 14 points or fewer. The Storm have covered 3 of their last 5 when favoured by more than a converted try. Melbourne have won and covered five straight off a rest of 11 or more days. Canberra have covered and gone over in seven straight road games.
Canberra have had a truly incredible season but it is hard to see it extending further than this Saturday night. Melbourne are just relentless and look lengths ahead of any of the remaining teams. They are so difficult to break down and in their current mindset and with their current energy they are just too strong. Off a break only adds to the confidence. The best bet in the match though is the under. The Storm hit under at a ridiculously high rate at home on the back of a strong defensive performance and they know it is defence that wins premierships. Finals unders are always a play.
Melbourne Storm: 1 Cameron Munster 2 Suliasi Vunivalu 3 Will Chambers 4 Cheyse Blair 5 Marika Koroibete 6 Blake Green 7 Cooper Cronk 8 Jesse Bromwich 9 Cameron Smith 10 Jordan McLean 11 Kevin Proctor 12 Tohu Harris 13 Dale Finucane.
Interchange: 14 Kenny Bromwich 15 Tim Glasby 16 Christian Welch 17 Ben Hampton 20 Matt White 21 Felise Kaufusi
Canberra Raiders: 1 Jack Wighton 2 Edrick Lee 3 Jarrod Croker 4 Joey Leilua 5 Jordan Rapana 6 Blake Austin 7 Aidan Sezer 8 Junior Paulo 9 Josh Hodgson 10 Shannon Boyd 11 Josh Papalii 12 Elliott Whitehead 13 Iosia Soliola.
Interchange: 14 Kurt Baptiste 15 Luke Bateman 16 Paul Vaughan 17 Joseph Tapine