Panthers v Storm, NRL grand final 2020: betting tips, prediction & odds
Welcome to our Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm preview, prediction and odds update for the 2020 NRL Grand Final at ANZ Stadium, Sydney, on Sunday, October 25.
After a tumultuous season, we finally arrive at the 2020 decider and there is little doubt the best two teams for the season are competing.
Ivan Cleary’s young, fast and strong Penrith team has lost just one match all season (against Parramatta) and is on a 17-game winning streak. Craig Bellamy’s Melbourne Storm simply delivered what they have been doing for years: high-quality football from a squad with tremendous depth and a handful of superstars to steer the way.
The Storm will most likely be farewelling legendary hooker Cameron Smith in this grand final, while flying wingers Suliasi Vunivalu and Josh Addo-Carr are also on the move after 2020.
The Panthers and Storm have clashed only once previously this season, when the Panthers won 21-14 in round six at Campbelltown Stadium. In that clash both teams were at close to full strength and the Panthers’ match-winning try came when second-rower Viliame Kikau caught an attacking bomb from halfback Nathan Cleary and went over untouched in the 63rd minute. Cleary sealed the win with a field goal with five minutes to go.
Overall though the Storm have dominated the Panthers for years, winning 18 of the past 21 clashes between the teams.
The Storm are playing in their fourth grand final in five years; they lost deciders in 2016 and 2018 and won the title in 2017.
Penrith have not played off in a grand final since 2003, when they beat the Sydney Roosters 18-6, with Luke Priddis winning the Clive Churchill Medal as the best player on the field.
That was a second title for the Panthers, while the Storm have won three titles in their 23-year history, in 1999, 2012 and 2017. The Storm were also stripped of the 2007 and 2009 titles for cheating the salary cap.
Team news for 2020 NRL grand final
The Panthers have a huge inclusion this week, literally, in the towering second-rower Viliame Kikau, who missed the narrow preliminary final win over Souths through suspension. Kikau’s return sends Kurt Capewell back to the pine and Mitch Kenny to the No.18. They have healthy squad, with key player Apisai Koroisau insisting he is ready to play despite a shoulder problem against the Rabbitohs.
Melbourne Storm have named the same 17 that beat Canberra Raiders in their preliminary final at Suncorp Stadium.
Penrith Panthers: Backs: 1. Dylan Edwards, 2. Josh Mansour, 3. Brent Naden, 4. Stephen Crichton, 5. Brian To’o, 6. Jarome Luai, 7. Nathan Cleary. Forwards: 8. James Tamou, 9. Apisai Koroisau, 10. James Fisher-Harris, 11. Viliame Kikau, 12. Liam Martin, 13. Isaah Yeo. Interchange: 14. Tyrone May, 15. Kurt Capewell, 16. Moses Leota, 17. Zane Tetevano. Reserves: 18. Mitch Kenny, 19. Dean Whare, 20. Matt Burton, 21. Spencer Leniu.
Melbourne Storm: Backs: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen, 2. Suliasi Vunivalu, 3. Brenko Lee, 4. Justin Olam, 5. Josh Addo-Carr, 6. Cameron Munster, 7. Jahrome Hughes. Forwards: 8. Jesse Bromwich, 9. Cameron Smith, 10. Christian Welch, 11. Felise Kaufusi, 12. Kenneath Bromwich, 13. Nelson Asofa-Solomona. Interchange: 14. Brandon Smith, 15. Tino Faasuamaleaui, 16. Nicho Hynes, 17. Dale Finucane. Reserves: 18. Tom Eisenhuth, 19. Paul Momirovski, 20. Tui Kamikamica, 21. Ryley Jacks.
Read on for our Panthers v Storm tips and winner prediction for their NRL grand final on Sunday, October 25.
Panthers v Storm odds
Kick-off: 7.30pm local time
Venue: ANZ Stadium, Sydney
Head to head odds: Penrith $2.18, Melbourne $1.72
Line betting: Penrith (+2.5 points) $1.79, Melbourne (-2.5 points) $2.02
Match total: 36.5 points: over $2, under $1.80
Panthers v Storm free betting tips
Below our NRL betting expert has highlighted his free Penrith-Melbourne betting tips for Sunday night’s game.
Storm -2.5/match total under 36.5 points
This double is paying around $3.80 with leading bookie Unibet Australia. The weather forecast is not great for Sydney this weekend, which could well take away some of the edge Penrith might have with a more mobile pack. Expect a brutal contest between the forwards and tries to be at a premium. Melbourne’s greater experience will be huge in a tight match.
Cameron Smith to score a try
Call us sentimental but the Melbourne Storm rake has been on of the best players in the NRL for 15 years or so and 340-odd games. This is likely to be his swan song. He is not a prolific try-scorer but we would not be surprised to see this legend of the game score a shock try in the most important game of the season. It would bring the house down.
Penrith Panthers v Melbourne Storm prediction 25-10-2020
Our hearts say Penrith but our heads say the experience of the Storm will prevail. The Panthers have won 17 games on end but that will count for nothing if they can’t get over the line here. The bookies have made the Storm favourites and the predicted wet weather would probably play into the hands of the Storm, who also look to have an edge in the quality of player coming off their bench. This shapes as one of the great grand finals and we see it going down to the wire. We are tipping Melbourne as they are sending off favourite son Cameron Smith and it would be un-Storm-like not to do it in style. Our Panthers v Storm prediction: Melbourne Storm by 8 points.
Panthers v Storm lowdown
Channel Nine, Fox League and KAYO will telecast the game, or it can be streamed at NRL.com.
All of the top International betting sites will offer markets on the NRL.
The Penrith-Storm match will kick off at 7.30pm local time.
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