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2021 NRL Round 10 Preview, Storm Vs Dragons

Craig Cauchi previews the Sunday afternoon Magic Round matchup between Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra Dragons. This is what we have to look forward to.

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TEAM NEWS

Venue: Suncorp Stadium, Date: 16/5, Time: 4:05pm

Melbourne Storm

1. Nicho Hynes
2. George Jennings
3. Reimis Smith
4. Justin Olam
5. Josh Addo-Carr
6. Ryley Jacks
7. Jahrome Hughes
8. Jesse Bromwich
9. Kenneath Bromwich
10. Christian Welch
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Tui Kamikamica
13. Dale Finucane
14. Tyson Smoothy
15. Chris Lewis
16. Tom Eisenhuth
17. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
18. Aaron Pene
19. Ryan Papenhuyzen
20. Trent Loiero
21. Dean Iremia

Team Changes

IN: Aaron Pene, Ryan Papenhuyzen, Ryley Jacks, Tom Eisenhuth, Trent Loiero, Tyson Smoothy
OUT: Brandon Smith, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant

St George Illawarra Dragons

1. Matthew Dufty
2. Max Feagai
3. Jack Bird
4. Tyrell Fuimaono
5. Mikaele Ravalawa
6. Corey Norman
7. Ben Hunt
8. Blake Lawrie
9. Andrew McCullough
10. Paul Vaughan
11. Josh Kerr
12. Tariq Sims
13. Josh McGuire
14. Poasa Faamausili
15. Billy Burns
16. Daniel Alvaro
17. Kaide Ellis
18. Jackson Ford
19. Junior Amone
20. Cody Ramsey
21. Adam Clune

Team Changes

IN: Adam Clune, Cody Ramsey, Mikaele Ravalawa, Poasa Faamausili
OUT: Mathew Feagai

Referee: Peter Gough

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Melbourne Storm

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The Storm sent a stern message last week in their 50-0 shout out victory against South Sydney. Josh Addo-Carr finished the night with 6 tries, a feat not seen in over 50 years of top flight football.

Melbourne Storm’s record at Suncorp Stadium is imposing and at the last magic round superstar fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen announced himself on the NRL stage. He has been picked in the reserves but expect him to be named to make his return from injury. The Storm might be without the majority of their recognised spine but they still have plenty of fire power across the field and not to mention a forward pack that dismantled South Sydney last week.

St George Illawarra Dragons

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The victory last week against the Bulldogs was massively important – the Dragons would have been facing the prospect of 5 straight losses. They have been scrappy ever since their win against Parramatta while this encounter with the premiers will be a perfect chance for the team to gauge their standing in the competition.

Their Fijian winger Mikaele Ravalawa returns from suspension, providing a slight boost for their attack, which took 50 minutes to click into gear Sunday afternoon. The Dragons defence held strong against the Bulldogs but they will need to return to their early season aggression if they want to match it with the Melbourne pack.

PREVIEW

Complacency is unlikely to be an issue with Melbourne, they are a professional outfit with strike players across the field even with Grant, Smith, and Munster out of the team. Jahrome Hughes leads the pack and will be hard to contain all night. The match up between his opposite, Ben Hunt, will be an intriguing encounter. The most creative out of the pair will determine the outcome of this match. The Dragons attack sprung into the gear in the second half off the back of Hunt’s input but they need to be prepared to find different options if they are to crack Melbourne’s defence.

The potential clash between the fullbacks will be a fast paced one. Dufty and Papenhuyzen have the speed to keep the crowd on the edge of their seat but how they keep themselves busy in defence will be where the differences emerge. Dufty has been caught out a couple of times while Papenhuyzen has shown himself to be reliable at the back.

The Dragons right side defence needs to work together for the entire match if they want to blunt the Storm’s attack. Melbourne are the best team in the competition at exposing sides and makeshift centre Tyrell Fuimaono will be under plenty of pressure marking opposite Justin Olam.

KEY STAT

The last time Melbourne lost at Suncorp Stadium was in 2017 to the Gold Coast – they have won their last 20 from 24 matches. They had a close match with Sydney Roosters at Suncorp but outside of that they have won easily. The Dragons won their last encounter in the final round of 2020 but of the last 26 meetings they have only been victorious 9 times.

PREDICTION

The Dragons will step up but the Storm should still cruise through this – Storm by 14

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