Schick Hydro Preview: Cronulla Sharks v Melbourne Storm
Southern Cross Group Stadium
The Sharks will host an unbeaten Melbourne Storm side to bring a close to Round 4 on Easter Monday.
Cronulla have had a mixed start to the season, with losses to the Cowboys and Sea Eagles either side of an impressive victory over the Dragons.
Melbourne on the other hand are the only side to begin the season with three straight wins, as they've accounted for the Dragons, Titans and Warriors in the opening three rounds.
Both sides have named unchanged teams for the Monday night clash, with Sharks centre Jack Bird expected to play after suffering concussion against Manly last weekend.
Watch out Sharks: While Cronulla have some quality players in the forwards, this week they will have to face what may be one of the most dangerous forward packs in the NRL so far this season. The likes of Jesse Bromwich, Kevin Proctor, Jordan McLean and Dale Finucane have all been impressive in the opening rounds, but the emergence of Jesse's younger brother Kenny Bromwich adds another string to the already strong bow that is the Storm forwards.
Watch out Storm: Ben Barba has found some form to open the season, and the fullback will be itching to continue that when he faces the Storm on Monday night. With Billy Slater no longer an option for the Storm this season, Cameron Munster is summoned to fill the void left by the Melbourne superstar. While Munster now has some experience under his belt after playing the majority of last season, he still has a massive challenge ahead of him in matching Barba, and if the 2012 Dally M medallist can wreak havoc then the Storm may have some problems.
Key match-up: Valentine Holmes v Marika Koroibete. In a game that has very important duels in the prop, five-eighth and hooker positions, the key match-up for this Round 4 clash will be between two of the league's quickest wingers. Valentine Holmes and Marika Koroibete have both had impressive starts to the season, with Holmes already having two tries to his name, and Koroibete three. The Storm winger scored the sealer in Melbourne's 21-14 victory over the Warriors on the weekend and averages 140 running metres a game, but will have his work cut out for him against Holmes on Monday night.
The history: Played 29; Sharks 9, Storm 20. History shows that the Storm love playing the Sharks, and especially in recent years, as the Storm have won their past five meetings with Cronulla. The Sharks' last victory against the Storm came in 2012, and have lost the last five by an average of 24 points.
What are the odds: This is looking like the betting game of the round judging by the interest from Sportsbet customers. The Sharks are favourites but all of the money is for the unbeaten Storm. There are five times as many individual bets on Craig Bellamy's men and they've been extremely popular in line betting where they're getting the start. Latest odds at sportsbet.com.au
Match officials: Referee: Matt Cecchin. Assistant referee: Dave Munro. Touch Judges: Ricky Macfarlane, Adam Reid. Review Officals: Ben Galea, Ashley Klein. Senior RO: Bernard Sutton.
Televised: Fox Sports – Live coverage from 6.30pm (AEDT)
How we see it: The Storm have started their season in the best way possible, but come up against a Sharks side who will be hungry to knock the Storm off their early season perch. The experienced heads at Melbourne got them over the line in a tough encounter against the Warriors last Sunday, and it looks as though more of the same will be needed for the Storm to record their fourth straight win of the season. Storm by 4.