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Run to the finals: Part II

Another NRL finals appearance is on the horizon for Melbourne Storm but before we get there we have eight big games to finish off the 2021 regular season.

Here’s part two of our look at how the run to the finals shapes up.

Read part one here.

Round 22 v Canberra at AAMI Park

Despite a patchy year, the Raiders remain well and truly in the race for the top eight, especially after their win against Manly on Thursday night. The battle of the coaches and great mates – Craig Bellamy v Ricky Stuart – always carries plenty of intrigue with big bragging rights on the line. Storm were comfortable winners against Canberra in the nation’s capital earlier this year but the Raiders only have to look back to 2019 for some extra confidence. They scored back-to-back wins at AAMI Park in two high pressure contests.

Round 23 v Gold Coast at Cbus Super Stadium

This is the second meeting of the year in Queensland for these two clubs with Storm winning the first 20-14 at their home away from home at Sunshine Coast Stadium. That match didn’t feature any State of Origin players but this time everyone will be available (injuries permitting). That means Storm premiership forward Tino Fa’asuamaleaui will go up against his old club for the first time. The Titans have had no issues scoring points this year,  amassing 386 points, only five fewer than the sixth-placed Roosters, but they’ve conceded way too many (442) which is why they’re outside the top eight at the moment.

Round 24 v Parramatta at AAMI Stadium

The second of the Storm v Eels match-ups for 2021 comes 22 weeks following the first encounter – a 16-12 win to Parra on a wet night at Bankwest Stadium. Fijian winger Maika Sivo won that game for the home team with a 76th minute try when the scores were level at 12-all. Parramatta are one of the big contenders for the title so this should be a great hitout for the two clubs with the finals series just a fortnight away. Melbourne will be rested after a nine-day break following the Gold Coast game.

Round 25 v Cronulla at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Storm’s home and away season finishes with a 6pm Friday night clash with the Sharks at their temporary home ground at Kogarah. There could be plenty on the line for both clubs. All going well in the preceding seven weeks, Storm will playing for a top two position – or even the minor premiership – while Cronulla, currently eighth, may have a finals place on the line. Storm 200-gamer Will Chambers will be looking forward to a rematch against his old club after going down 40-14 on his return to AAMI Park in round eight.