Digital Image by Brett Crockford © nrlphotos.com :	    Cooper Cronk   NRL, Rugby League, Round 18,  Melbourne Storm v  Canterbury Bankstown Bulldogs @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Saturday 12th July, 2014.

Halves the difference

The contest between Melbourne and Canterbury’s two halves combinations will prove crucial to the outcome of Sunday’s Elimination Final.

Melbourne’s Cooper Cronk and Ben Roberts will come up against the lethal New South Wales Origin pairing of Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson.

Cronk and Roberts have settled in as Melbourne’s consistent halves combination throughout the second half of 2014 and have gelled at the right time of the season, helping drive Melbourne towards a finals finish. Roberts’s turn of speed, quick step and strong ball running ability has complimented Cronk’s vision, control and precise kicking game throughout the year.

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With Reynolds and Hodkinson playing together at club and State representative levels regularly, the pair have forged a combative and ruthless combination which is central to Des Hasler’s game plan.

As both sides face the reality of a sudden death Elimination Final on Sunday, the key to continuing beyond week one of the finals series will lie with each playmaking pair and how much influence they can exert on the contest.

In Round 18, the Bulldogs defeated Storm 6-4 in a tight and low scoring affair. See the full recap of that contest here.

Storm Combination:

Cooper Cronk

Played: 18

Tries: 5

Goals:

Tackles: 283

Run Metres: 714

 

Ben Roberts

Played: 17

Tries: 2

Goals: 3

Tackles: 300

Run Metres: 814

 

Bulldogs Combination:

Trent Hodkinson

Played: 21

Tries: 4

Goals: 62

Tackles: 336

Run Metres: 1001

 

Josh Reynolds

Played: 15

Tries: 2

Goals:

Tackles: 279

Run Metres: 1213

The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not reflect the views of Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club.