NRL Thursday: Storm v Rabbitohs betting tips, prediction & odds, round 1, 2021

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Welcome to our Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs match preview, prediction and odds update for their NRL clash at AAMI Park, Melbourne, on Thursday, March 11.

This match is a rolled-gold blockbuster to start the season, with the defending champions hosting a team many predict could challenge for the title this season.

Wayne Bennett’s Souths were brilliant at times last season, especially in attack, but entered the finals a bit banged up and missing star fullback weapon Latrell Mitchell.

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Of course, when the big moments arrived in the 2020 finals, Craig Bellamy’s Storm were there to stand up and collect the spoils. Bellamy must be considered the greatest coach in modern NRL history, or at the least he sits with Bennett and the Roosters’ Trent Robinson as modern-day maestros.

Storm and Rabbitohs team news for round 1

The Storm must adjust to life after Cameron Smith, while they will also be without his obvious replacement Harry Grant, who suffered a medial ligament injury in the 30-10 trial win against Newcastle and will miss around six weeks. Brandon Smith will step straight in for Grant, who starred as a loan player at Wests Tigers and for Queensland last season. Brenko Lee (hamstring) is in doubt, with veteran George Jennings ready to slot in. The Storm also farewelled winger Suliasi Vunivalu (Qld Reds in rugby union), but his spot will be taken by Bulldogs recruit Reimis Smith. Co-captain Dale Finucane will miss the first six weeks of the season with a calf injury.

Meanwhile, South Sydney will be without back-rower Liam Knight, who suffered a concussion at training recently. Boom recruit Jai Arrow is likely to make his debut for the Bunnies off the bench.

Read on for our Storm v Rabbitohs tips and winner prediction for their NRL clash on Thursday, March 11.

Storm v Rabbitohs odds

Kick-off: 8.05pm local time
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Head to head odds: Melbourne $1.87, Souths $1.95
Line betting: Melbourne (-1.5 points) $1.91, Souths (+1.5 points) $1.91
Match total: 42.5 points: over $1.90, under $1.90

Storm v Rabbitohs free betting tips

Below our NRL betting expert has highlighted his free Storm-Rabbitohs betting tips for Thursday’s game.

Rabbitohs to win/match total over 42.5 points

This double is paying $3.50 with Unibet. Both these teams are free-scoring and have continued in that vein in the pre-season. It may take some time for the teams to get their defensive structures right so we expect a high-scoring contest here. Souths should have enough attacking prowess to get the job done

Ryan Papenhuyzen to score first try

The Storm fullback was simply incredible last season when he established himself as arguably the best player in the game. He has even more responsibility this season and no reason he can’t bob up early to score the first of what we imagine will be plenty of tries this season.

Melbourne Storm v South Sydney Rabbitohs prediction 11-3-2021

These teams met twice last season for two wins to the Storm, 22-8 and then 22-16 late in the season. South Sydney look to have a much more settled line-up than their opponents for this opener, mainly due to the loss of Smith and Grant. The Storm will be playing without Smith on their roster for the first time in almost 20 years and he is a master on-field operator. It is going to be fascinating to see how the Storm adjust to their new reality. Our Storm v Rabbitohs prediction: The Bunnies to win a close one.

Storm v Rabbitohs lowdown

How can I watch the Melbourne Storm-Souths clash?

Channel Nine, Fox League and KAYO will telecast the game, or it can be streamed at

How can I bet on the Storm v Rabbitohs clash?

All of the top International betting sites will offer markets on the NRL.

What time does Thursday’s Storm v Rabbitohs NRL Round 1 game start?

The Storm v Rabbitohs match kicks off at 8.05pm local time.

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