NRL Round 20 – Match 4 Footy Preview: Melbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers

This game is shaping up as one of the star showdowns in Round 20 as an embattled Storm look to regain some pride when they host the Panthers, narrowly hanging onto a spot in the top two, at AAMI Park on Saturday night.

Fans and critics alike are eager to see whether the Storm has any fire power left after they suffered their third successive lost last week, going down 6 – 13 to the Warriors. With the salary cap scandal receiving plenty of attention again and the threat of the ‘Fab Four’ breaking up, the Storm are really struggling to find something to play for.

The Panthers also went down last week when they lost 34 – 28 to a rising Eels outfit. It was Penrith’s second loss on the trot and they are lucky to still be in the second spot on the ladder, with many asking how much longer they can keep it up.

This is a really important game for the big cats if they want to stay in the top four and there will be plenty of punters out there barracking for them after placing ‘Make The Top 4’ bets at on the Panthers.

Panthers are still looking good to ‘Make The Top 4’ in the markets

Penrith lost against Melbourne last time they faced off, but it was back in Round 3 when the seasons for both clubs were in very different shape.

At home the Storm have a slight advantage with installing them as the $1.62 favourites, but Penrith have a lot to prove and we think they will dig deep and rise back to the top form they were in before their two-week dip.

So we are backing the underdogs here and jumping on the Panther’s generous $2.30 odds at Penrith need to utilise the talent they have in Lachlan Coote, Michael Jennings and Michael Gordon by attacking in ways other than off kicks and if they do this and work the field they can win.

Footy Tip of the Match – Michael Jennings to score the first try at $10 through

NRLleague Footy Tip of the Match:

Penrith got off to speedy start last week putting 22 points on the Eels before Parramatta’s big comeback. We think they will come out firing again here and like Michael Jennings for the ‘1st Tryscorer’ at $10 through

Current Head-to-Head Odds:

Storm $1.62 – Panthers $2.30

Round 20 Storm Team:

1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Duffie 3. Chase Stanley 4. Greg Inglis 5. Justin O’Neill 6. Brett Finch 7. Cooper Cronk 8. Bryan Norrie 9. Cameron Smith 10. Brett White 11. Sika Manu 12. Ryan Hoffman 13. Adam Blair

Bench: 14. Ryan Hinchcliffe 15. Todd Lowrie 16. Aiden Tolman 17. Jeff Lima

Reserve: 18. Dane Nielsen

Round 20 Panthers Team:

1. Lachlan Coote 2. Michael Gordon 3. Michael Jennings 4. Adrian Purtell 5. Brad Tighe 6. Wade Graham 7. Luke Walsh 8. Frank Puletua 9. Kevin Kingston 10. Petero Civoniceva 11. Trent Waterhouse 12. Frank Pritchard 13. Nathan Smith

Bench: 14. Travis Burns 15. Matthew Bell 16. Gavin Cooper 17. Sam McKendry

Reserve: 18. Masada Iosefa