The Courier-Mail

Storm have form on board when it counts

- AAP

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.

 ??  ?? READY: Ryan Hinchcliff­e.
READY: Ryan Hinchcliff­e.

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