Ryan Papenhuyzen has become so influential on NRL this year that Andrew Johns sees his absence as a “12-14 point turnaround” for Saturday night’s Magic Round blockbuster, which will air live and for free on Nine.
Storm is on fire, sitting completely on top of a ladder, running in front of two competing teams equal 16 points, in contrast to the Buffer of +77 in second-place Penrith.
Even after their first defeat of the season to local rivals Eels, Johns is strongly in favor of stopping Melbourne on their tracks at the Panthers’ Suncorp Stadium.
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“I just think without Papanehuen, the way they play, he links to it [Cameron] Munster and Jahrom Hughes, I think it’s a 12-14 point change for them, “Johns told Brad Fitler in Wide World of Sports. Tips from Freddie and VIII.
“I think we’ll get a huge game from Nathan [Cleary] This week. He will be disappointed, he missed two important goals and then missed that field goal (lost to the Panthers), so I think Penrith will hit back. “
Fitler, meanwhile, stuck Storm to roll the juggernaut, saying “they can’t stop right now.”
Papenhuyzen, who is leading by 15 points in the Daly M vote, had a mouth-watering top-of-the-table collision after he was confirmed to miss 4-6 weeks after suffering a knee and hamstring injury in a separate incident during Sunday’s win against the Dragons.
The Storm named off-season recruit Nick Manny the No. 1 jersey for Saturday night’s game, with both full-backs choosing to keep the in-form Halve combination Munster and Hughes in their usual positions.
Storm has won six games in a row and scored 162 points in the last three rounds, just 18 points apart. It’s a hot streak that has rarely been seen before, setting the most unexpected competition of the magic round against last year’s premiers.
Scroll down for the current leaderboard and round 10 tips from Johns, Brad Fitler and all the expert tipsters of Nine!
Andrew Johns: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Dragon, Panther, Shark, Eagle, Cowboy
Brad Fitler: Knight, rabbit, sea eagle, dragon, storm, shark, eagle, cowboy
David Middleton: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Dragon, Panther, Shark, Rooster, Cowboy
Peter Saltis: Bulldog, Broncos, Rabbit, Titan, Storm, Shark, Eagle, Cowboy
Michael Chamas: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Dragon, Panther, Shark, Eagle, Tiger
Jonathan Thurston: Bulldogs, Broncos, Warriors, Titans, Storm, Shark, Eagle, Cowboys
Allana Ferguson: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Dragon, Panther, Shark, Eagle, Cowboy
Matt Thompson: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Dragon, Panther, Shark, Rooster, Cowboy
Billy Slater: Knight, Broncos, Rabbit, Titan, Storm, Shark, Eagle, Cowboy
Ruan Sims: Bulldog, sea eagle, rabbit, dragon, panther, shark, eagle, cowboy
Mole: Knight, sea eagle, rabbit, dragon, panther, shark, eagle, cowboy
Ben Glover: Bulldog, sea eagle, rabbit, titan, panther, shark, eagle, cowboy
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