Melbourne Storm Vs Leeds Rhinos
Friday 16th February, 8:00pm, AAMI Park
The World Club Challenge will return to Australia for the first time since 2014 when the Melbourne Storm host the Leeds Rhinos at AAMI Park in Melbourne on Friday night.
Wigan ended the dominance of Australian sides when they beat the Cronulla Sharks in the World Club Challenge last year, but the Storm will still go into this clash as dominant favourites.
Will Melbourne win the World Club Challenge for the fourth time or will Leeds record one of the biggest upsets in the history of the competition?
We have analysed both teams and our complete 2018 World Club Challenge tips can be found below!
2018 Rugby League World Club Challenge Tips
Head To Head Betting
Australian sides have won seven of the past nine editions of the World Club Challenge and the market suggests that the Storm will have no issues accounting for the Rhinos in this clash.
The Storm are $1.07 favourites to claim victory, while a massive $8.50 is available for a Leeds win.
The real value in this betting market is at the line and the start of 20.5 points does look to be excessive for what will be the Storm’s first proper hit-out of the new season.
This will be the first time that Melbourne will go into an official game without Cooper Cronk and it is highly likely that the Storm will need plenty of time to work on their new combinations before they can return to the sort of form they showed during their dominant NRL Premiership win last season.
Add in the fact that Cameron Smith has barely trained since leading Australia to glory at the 2017 Rugby League World Cup, there is plenty of reason to believe that the Storm will not be at anywhere near their best.
Melbourne have won the two previous World Club Challenge clashes between these two sides, but both wins came by eight points or less and in the seven times that Leeds have contested the World Cup Challenge they have lost by a margin of greater than 20 points only once – when they took an understrength side into their clash with the North Queensland Cowboys in 2016.
This game has a dour Melbourne Storm win written all over it and Leeds are a great bet to cover the line.
Back Leeds To Beat The Line (+20.5 Points)