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Consistently two of the NRL's most dominant teams in recent times, the Storm and Panthers find themselves again in the top four as the final quarter of the season approaches. 

Tied on competition points having each picked up 10 wins from 15 games to date, the winner of Friday night's clash is a good chance of finishing Round 18 at the top of the ladder. 

The Panthers have been nothing but impressive through the Origin period so far, toughing out a handful of wins to go with a golden point loss to the Cowboys a fortnight ago, despite the absence of plenty of talent at different stages.

Melbourne too have been tracking well, with wins in their last three games, where their defensive efforts have been standing out.

The Storm have averaged just 7.3 points against them over the past three weeks, although they still have some way to go to match the Panthers in that department, with Ivan Cleary's men boasting the competition's best defensive record.  

Melbourne won 16-0 the last time they met, but across their past 10 head-to-head encounters wins are split perfectly at five-apiece. 

Sportsbet Betting Preview - Storm v Panthers

Team News 

Storm: Tui Kamikamica (calf) will make a return with Aaron Pene (ankle) and Tom Eisenhuth onto the interchange while Cameron Munster (illness) is good to go. 

Panthers: Bench hooker Soni Luke came out of the team on Thursday with his place taken by Tyrone Peachey in game No.200 while Zac Hosking comes onto the bench with Jaeman Salmon dropping to 18th man. 

Team Lists

Backs

  • Fullback for Storm is number 1 Nick Meaney
    Fullback for Panthers is number 1 Dylan Edwards
  • Winger for Storm is number 2 Will Warbrick
    Winger for Panthers is number 2 Sunia Turuva
  • Centre for Storm is number 3 Reimis Smith
    Centre for Panthers is number 3 Izack Tago
  • Centre for Storm is number 4 Justin Olam
    Centre for Panthers is number 4 Stephen Crichton
  • Winger for Storm is number 5 Xavier Coates
    Winger for Panthers is number 5 Brian To'o
  • Five-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
    Five-Eighth for Panthers is number 6 Jarome Luai
  • Halfback for Storm is number 7 Jahrome Hughes
    Halfback for Panthers is number 7 Jack Cogger

Forwards

  • Prop for Storm is number 8 Tariq Sims
    Prop for Panthers is number 8 Moses Leota
  • Hooker for Storm is number 9 Harry Grant
    Hooker for Panthers is number 9 Mitch Kenny
  • Prop for Storm is number 10 Christian Welch
    Prop for Panthers is number 10 James Fisher-Harris
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Trent Loiero
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 11 Scott Sorensen
  • 2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
    2nd Row for Panthers is number 12 Liam Martin
  • Lock for Storm is number 13 Josh King
    Lock for Panthers is number 13 Isaah Yeo

Interchange

  • Interchange for Storm is number 14 Bronson Garlick
    Interchange for Panthers is number 15 Lindsay Smith
  • Interchange for Storm is number 16 Tui Kamikamica
    Interchange for Panthers is number 16 Spencer Leniu
  • Interchange for Storm is number 18 Tyran Wishart
    Interchange for Panthers is number 18 Zac Hosking
  • Interchange for Storm is number 19 Tom Eisenhuth
    Interchange for Panthers is number 21 Tyrone Peachey

Reserves

  • Replacement for Storm is number 15 Alec MacDonald
    Replacement for Panthers is number 17 Jaeman Salmon

Match Officials

  • Referee: Adam Gee
  • Touch Judge: Phil Henderson
  • Touch Judge: Belinda Sharpe
  • Senior Review Official: Gerard Sutton

Last updated:

Stat Attack

  • These two sides complete sets at a high rate, with the Panthers completing at a competition-high average of 82 percent and the Storm just behind them on 81 percent. 
  • The Storm have won 16 games from 19 against the Panthers in Melbourne.
  • The Panthers play in Melbourne for the first time since 2018.
  • Storm fullback Nick Meaney requires two points to reach 500 career points.
  • Panthers utility Tyrone Peachey will make his 200th NRL appearance.
  • Storm winger Xavier Coates has scored seven tries in his past five games in Melbourne.
  • Dylan Edwards' average metres per game is now a whopping 22.1 metres per game higher than the next player on the list who has played more than one game in 2023. The second-ranked player is his teammate, winger Brian To'o.

Stats supplied by David Middleton, League Information Services, author of the official annual of the NRL.

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.

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