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10 May 2018

Melbourne Storm vs Gold Coast Titans: Lineups, preview and prediction

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Overview

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Recent meetings

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Selected teams

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The facts that matter

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Prediction

Overview

The first game of the Suncorp Stadium Round 10 double-header is the Melbourne Storm taking on the Gold Coast Titans, in what is a technical "home game" for Melbourne. The Storm hit a roadblock with their loss last week after looking like they were building some momentum. No doubt Craig Bellamy's men will be out with a point to prove against the Titans, especially considering that when these sides met in this fixture last year, the Titans pulled of an incredible upset win over the eventual Premiers. Redemption is on the cards for Melbourne, both from the loss to the Dragons last week, and the loss to the Titans 12 months ago.

For the Titans, this is a serious David vs. Goliath battle. After four straight losses and a host of positional changes the Titans are getting desperate to save their season, fan favourite Konrad Hurrell has been dropped for Brenko Lee, and rookie Alexander Brimson will debut at five-eighth. Like David defeating Goliath, the Titans defeated the Storm at this very fixture in 2017, it was described at the time as a miraculous victory and that effort will have to be replicated in its entirety for the Titans to stand any chance against the Melbourne Storm on Saturday night. 

Recent meetings

2017 - Round 10 - Gold Coast Titans 38 def. Melbourne Storm 36 at Suncorp Stadium

2016 - Round 9 - Melbourne Storm 36 def. Gold Coast Titans 0 at Cbus Super Stadium

2016 - Round 2 - Melbourne Storm 34 def. Gold Coast Titans 16 at AAMI Park

2015 - Round 22 - Melbourne Storm 34 def. Gold Coast Titans 14 at AAMI Park

2014 - Round 14 - Melbourne Storm 24 def. Gold Coast Titans 20 at Cbus Super Stadium

The Storm have won four of the past five meetings between the two sides, scoring 34 points or more in each of the last four games. However, the Titans secured a win the last time these teams played. History definitely favours Melbourne though, with the Storm winning 11 times from the 17 times these clubs have played.

Selected teams

Melbourne Storm  Gold Coast Titans
1Billy SlaterMichael Gordon
2Suliasi VunivaluAnthony Don
3Will ChambersDale Copley
4Curtis ScottBrenko Lee
5Josh Addo-CarrPhillip Sami
6Cameron MunsterAlexander Brimson
7Ryley JacksAshley Taylor
8Christian WelchMax King
9Cameron Smith (c)Mitch Rein
10Nelson Asofa-SolomonaRyan James (c)
11Felise KaufusiKevin Proctor
12Ryan HoffmanWill Matthews
13Dale FinucaneJarrod Wallace
Interchange
14Brandon SmithBryce Cartwright
15Kenneath BromwichKeegan Hipgrave
16Joe StimsonJack Stockwell
17Sam KasianoMoeaki Fotuaika
Reserves 
18Brodie CroftLeilani Latu
19Tui KamikamicaKonrad Hurrell
20Patrick KaufusiNathan Peats
 21Justin OlamKane Elgey

The facts that matter

Melbourne Storm

The biggest fact that the Storm will care about coming into this game is that they lost last round, and if history is anything to go by, then we can expect a big bounce-back from Melbourne. Bellamy's men welcome back centre, Curtis Scott from injury which only strengthens an already formidable outfit. 

An underrated asset of the Storm is their blistering 2018 attack. Before last weeks loss to the ladder leading Dragons, the Storm has scored, 50, 34 and 40 points in their previous three games, highly impressive numbers in their own right, but when you factor in that the Titans defense is currently the worst in the competition, it paints a picture of the game we can expect, and it one that could be quite a joyous evening for the Melbourne men.

In-form, and Blues hopeful, Josh Addo-Carr has enjoyed a fantastic start to 2018, with 11 tries across the opening 10 rounds. With Addo-Carr lining up against the out-of-form Anthony Don, this double-header could be an opportunity for Addo-Carr to cement himself into the NSW backline.

Gold Coast Titans

A month ago, after back-to-back wins over Manly and Brisbane, the Titans were looking on track. What a difference a month makes, the Titans since dropped Kane Elgey for big money recruit Bryce Cartwright in a move that backfired so spectacularly all the Titans fans can do is laugh. However, for this game, Cartwright has been demoted to the bench and youngster Alexander Brimson called into the NRL squad from the Intrust Super Cup. It's a huge game to debut, a packed Suncorp Stadium, against the reigning Premiers with the Titans season virtually on the line, but the Coast are out of options, good luck, kid. 

Other changes to the Titans team include the dropping of Konrad Hurrell for former Bulldog and Raider, Brenko Lee. Dale Copley also returns from injury to replace Brendan Elliot. The Titans will be hoping the new centre combination can improve the woeful attack the club has displayed in recent weeks, with the club scoring 18 points of less in their past four games.

The loss of Jai Arrow (ribs) is sure to hurt the Titans. Arrow has been one of the form forwards of the competition in 2018 and is on the cusp of State of Origin selection. The Titans have welcomed back Will Matthews to cover the loss, with Ryan James shifting to the front row and Jarrod Wallace to lock. 

Prediction

Despite a four-match losing streak the Titans will put up a fight against the Melbourne Storm, and Brimson will excel on debut. But the explosiveness of the Melbourne backline will just be too much to contain for a Titans side with defensive concerns. Storm by 10.

Will the Storm grab a handy win or could the Titans snare a shock upset? Let us know in the comments below.