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What a win means
Given their supreme points differential (+177), should Melbourne return home from the Gold Coast with a win it would all but assure they can finish no lower than third on the NRL ladder heading into the final game of the season. Should the Rabbitohs fail to get the job done in Canberra and the Roosters likewise against the Broncos, it would see Storm go a game clear in top spot and into the box seat for three consecutive Minor Premierships. The top three teams all play on Saturday which means by 10pm that night we should have a strong indication with how the top of the ladder will shape up.

What a loss means
The stakes are even higher should a defeat come at the hands of the Titans this weekend. If Storm lose and one of the Rabbitohs or Roosters win, Craig Bellamy's men would require a lucky string of results to go their way in the final round to win the Minor Premiership. Even more crucially, the table is so tight that just one win separates 1st and 6th. Every team in that bracket is playing a side below them on the ladder this weekend, so should they all win and Storm lose, the men in purple will be equal with sixth and have only a healthy points differential keeping them inside the top four heading into a nervy final week.

Next man up
Injuries are nothing new to this Storm side. In 2016 an injury crisis forced the unearthing of Suliasi Vunivalu, fast track two years and he is the reigning back-to-back NRL leading try scorer. Last year the likes of Tohu Harris, Will Chambers and Jordan McLean all missed significant time only to return and be Premiership heroes. After last week's gruesome win over the Eels, Storm are in need again of reinforcements to step up. Big men Sam Kasiano and Albert Vete have been named on the extended bench and either or both will fill the power prop void on the bench following the injury to Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Jahrome Hughes has also been named on the bench and is a chance to make a timely return from the medial strain that ruled him out last week. The depth is certainly there and now is the time to put it to use.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.