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NRL: Storm fighting to hold on to fourth spot

Melbourne Storm will be out to cement their place in the top four of the NRL when they take on a Parramatta Eels side pushing for the top eight.

The race to make the top four is a tight one, with just four points separating New Zealand Warriors in third spot and Canberra Raiders down in ninth.

Melbourne currently hold fourth spot, but with a host of teams - including the Eels - breathing down their neck, the pressure is on.

The same can be said of Parramatta, who could cut the gap on the Storm to just two points.

However, a defeat and results elsewhere going against them could see Brad Arthur’s side slip out of the top eight.

It means the game at Marvel Stadium is massive and we could be in for a classic as both sides go all out for the win.

WhatMelbourne Storm v Parramatta Eels
WhereMarvel Stadium, Melbourne
When20:00 (AEST), Friday 28th July 2023
How to watchChannel 7, Kayo, Foxtel
OddsMelbourne Storm 1.44, Parramatta Eels 2.80

Storm need to bounce back

The Storm have lost two of the last three games, which has put their hopes of making the top four in jeopardy.

The defeat against the Newcastle Knights last week will have set one or two alarm bells ringing and they need to bounce back with a win against the Eels.

They have to face Penrith Panthers, the Raiders and Brisbane Broncos in the run-in to the season so they will need to hit some top form to achieve their goals.

These two sides met at the start of the season with the Storm edging the game by just four points. We could be in for another tight one here and the Storm are priced at 7.00 to win by 1-5 points.

Craig Bellamy has a side packed with quality, including winger Xavier Coates, who has scored 20 tries in 27 games in Melbourne.

He can be backed at 7.50 to grab the first try of the game on Friday night.

Melbourne have been hit by the news that both Justin Olam and Reimis Smith are ruled out, meaning they will have to go with a new combination in the centres.

Marion Seve and Young Tonumaipea will come into the side, while Eliesa Katoa also returns from an eye injury.

Eels in top-eight battle

Just like the Storm, Parramatta head into the game on the back of a defeat after losing by eight points to the Cowboys last week.

They have won just once in the last three games, and that was a tight one-point win against the Titans.

The Eels do have a good record against the Storm, winning four of the past five games against them, although their form in Melbourne has not been great.

Parramatta have to face the Broncos, Roosters and Panthers in the run-in, which will make life tough as they attempt to make finals.

They are hanging on to eighth spot by the skin of their teeth and there are five teams within two points of them.

Parramatta can be backed at 2.10 to make the top eight and 1.72 to miss out, which is almost unthinkable after they made the grand final in 2022.

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