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NRL: Storm and Panthers face major showdown

Two of the NRL's most successful sides, Melbourne Storm and Penrith Panthers, go head-to-head in a Friday night blockbuster at Marvel Stadium.

The Panthers are out to win their third straight premiership in 2023, while the Storm know all about that, having won four in the NRL era.

Both teams are right in the mix once again as they sit joint-top of the ladder along with the Brisbane Broncos, so this game could not be much bigger.

There is still a long way to go in the season, but Friday night’s game will give us a good idea regards who is in the best shape to go all the way and win the grand final.

The rivalry is fierce between these two sides and the game has all the ingredients to be one of highlights of the NRL season.

There is a good chance they could meet in the grand final later in the year, so this could be the dress rehearsal.

WhatMelbourne Storm v Penrith Panthers
WhereMarvel Stadium, Melbourne
When20:00 (AEST), Friday 30th June 2023
How to watchChannel 9, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsMelbourne Storm 1.78, Penrith Panthers 2.05

Storm get back on track

Melbourne Storm suffered a heavy defeat against the Cowboys, losing by 25 points at the start of the month, but have since bounced back with three wins.

They smashed Cronulla Sharks by 45 points and backed it up with wins over Wests Tigers and Manly Sea Eagles - another one against the Panthers and they really will be flying.

They are priced at 6.00 to go on and win the grand final and a win over the Panthers would send a warning to the rest of the competition.

Their recent upturn in form has been built on a solid defence and that is sure to be tested against a Panthers side that is also tracking well.

The Storm will be boosted by the return of star playmaker Cameron Munster, who was rested against Manly following his exploits in State of Origin for Queensland.

Another Origin star Xavier Coates will again be a big threat after scoring seven tries in his last five games in Melbourne.

The winger can be backed at 9.00 to score the first try on Friday night.

Big guns back for Panthers

The Panthers are also in good shape having lost just one game in the last seven. That was a golden-point defeat against the Cowboys, but they bounced back well to see off the Newcastle Knights last week.

So far they have negotiated the Origin period well and, with some key players returning, will be looking to kick on over the next couple of weeks before game three.

There is still no Nathan Cleary, who is injured, but Jack Cogger is deputising well alongside Jarome Luai in the halves.

Brian To'o, Stephen Crichton, Jarome Luai, Liam Martin and Isaah Yeo will all return against the Storm, so the Panthers will virtually be at full strength.

They did lose 16-0 against the Storm the last time they met towards the end of last season, but still went on to win the grand final.

It is likely to be a close game on Friday night and, if the Panthers do come out on top, they are priced at 6.50 to win by 6-10 points.

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