Watch South Sydney Rabbitohs vs Melbourne Storm Live Stream - Thursday 06 May 11:50

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Thursday 06 May 11:50

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NRL ROUND 9

SOUTH SYDNEY RABBITOHS VS MELBOURNE STORM

THURSDAY MAY 6, 7.50 PM, STADIUM AUSTRALIA, SYDNEY

After the opening night showpiece 2 months ago, it is little wonder that the NRL decided to feature this rivalry again, to begin the 9th round, Souths and Melbourne are legitimate rivals, which goes back decades, as Bellamy and Bennett have been in the game that long.  Souths are flying, their only blemish on a superb record, remains the opening round loss against Melbourne, after the Storm dominated the first half, since then they have recorded 7 straight impressive wins.  Melbourne had a small glitch after that opening win, but have steadied the ship and piled on 5 wins since, giving them a 6-2 record, good for 5th, while Souths are 3rd.  Wet windy conditions will make this a battle of attrition and players will need to be wary of leg injuries on a greasy pitch, nonetheless, a crowd of around 20-25k should be expected.

At this stage, Reynolds is out due to a thumb injury, which means Benji moves from fullback to the halves, but Graham and Paulo are both now injured, which forces Bennett to slot Marsters and Milne in on either wing.  Adding a little depth to the backs is Burns who returns from knee surgery at centre, while Johnston moves to fullback, in the forwards, Murray is hurt, so Arrow starts at lock.  Tatola returns from concussion, which means Cartwright will not play at this stage, though interesting Bennett has opted for a 4-forwads bench.  Latrell Mitchell and Papenhuyzen missing this game takes some of the gloss off of what would’ve been a salivating fullback matchup.  Jennings and Asofa-Solomona return to Melbourne, after head-knocks, meaning Smith and Ieremia miss.

It was a gripping battle in round 1, featuring Papenhuyzen and Munster, and later in the game the likes of Walker, Reynolds and Johnston replied, but those combinations are not featuring here, meaning we are in for a different type of battle.  Benji has been superb for Bennett since featuring in Latrell Mitchell’s absence, while the superstar that is Harry Grant has been shining for Melbourne in recent games.  These two teams are legitimate title contenders, and it would be a real surprise if either do not feature in the top 4, all year long, Melbourne are $4.50, 2nd favourites to win the competition, while Souths are next in line at $5.  Astoundingly, bookmakers have Souths at $3.35 chances and +7.5 in the margin market, while the Storm are $1.33, despite having some issues in Sydney in recent trips north.

PREDICTION: Melbourne by a whisker, but if Reynolds unexpectedly plays, that is enough to tilt the game in Souths favour.

BETTING TIP: $4.25 is such good odds, that Souths despite not being favoured to win is worth a go, to win by 1-12.

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