Storm have form on board when it counts
IF their record against finals rivals over the 26 rounds this season is anything to go by, Melbourne Storm are the team to beat.
In a head-to-head breakdown of matches this season between the eight finals team, the Storm have emerged with easily the best record of 8-4.
Premiership outsiders St George Illawarra have the worst record: 4-9.
Canterbury will have to rely on all of coach Des Hasler’s finals experience because their 4-7 record against their fellow title contenders is the second worst.
If not for two early-season losses to Manly, when the Sea Eagles were running last, a defeat to Wests Tigers, when they were on the bottom of the NRL ladder, and a capitulation to wooden spooners Newcastle, the Storm could have claimed a top-two finish.
They have been big-game performers this season and hope to give the finals a shake, starting with Friday’s qualifying final with Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium.
Utility Ryan Hinchcliffe said the Storm were determined to make the most of it.
“Manly did us a bit of a favour by beating the Sharkies yesterday ... it’s a huge advantage for us to finish in the top four,” Hinchcliffe said. “But it’s only an advantage if we use it.
“We’ve got a big challenge coming up against the Roosters, who have shown they’re the form side of the competition in the second half of the year.”
Cronulla boast the second best record: 7-4.