Jack Harbidge previews the Sunday clash between the Melbourne Storm and the St George Illawarra Dragons…
Melbourne Storm Vs St George Illawarra Dragons
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
Date: Sunday May 8, 2:00pm
MATCHDAY TEAM NEWS
Related: NRL Team List TuesdayEmbed from Getty Images
Storm: 1. Ryan Papenhuyzen 2. Nick Meaney 3. Reimis Smith 4. Justin Olam 5. Xavier Coates 6. Cameron Munster 7. Jahrome Hughes 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Harry Grant 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Felise Kaufusi 12. Kenny Bromwich 13. Josh King 14. Brandon Smith 15. Tyran Wishart 16. Trent Loiero 17. Jordan Grant 18. Chris Lewis 19. Bronson Garlick 20. Jayden Nikorima 21. Cooper Johns 22. Tom Eisenhuth 23. Dean Ieremia 24. Alec MacDonald
Tepai Moeroa misses out with an injured shoulder and Jordan Grant replaces him on the bench; the starting 13 stays unchanged.Embed from Getty Images
Dragons: 1. Moses Mbye 2. Mathew Feagai 3. Moses Suli 4. Zac Lomax 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jack Bird 7. Ben Hunt 8. Francis Molo 9. Andrew McCullough 10. George Burgess 11. Tariq Sims 12. Josh Mcguire 13. Jack de Belin 14. Talatau Amone 15. Blake Lawrie 16. Aaron Woods 17. Tyrell Fuimaono 18. Jayden Sullivan 19. Cody Ramsey 20. Jack Gosiewski 21. Tyrell Sloan 22. Josh Kerr 23. Jackson Ford 24. Tautau Moga
Jack Bird comes back into the squad as Cody Ramsey makes way. Talatau Amone moves to the bench to make way for Bird named at six and the starting side remains unchanged outside of that shuffle.
Referee: Peter Gough
The Melbourne Storm exerted one of the most dominant performances in NRL history over the New Zealand Warriors last week and they will look to do the same against a St George Illawarra side that is buoyed off the back of cutting down the Sydney Roosters in the famous Anzac day game, which they then backed up with a win over the Wests Tigers last time out.
The Storm also come into this off the back of a 50-2 win against Newcastle and are in the best form of the whole league. The Dragons come into this on a three-game win streak including a win against the Knights and the Anzac win against the Roosters.
An improved St George defence lines up against the best attack in the NRL and the key battle will be in the middle for this one. Harry Grant has been excellent in getting Melbourne on the front foot at hooker through deception at the base of the ruck or picking holes when running from the ruck and he comes up against a veteran nine in Andrew McCullough who is renowned for his defence.
While it looks as though the Dragons come into this in fine fettle, they are yet to face any side anywhere near the standard of this Melbourne Storm side in their three wins. That said, much of the games in the NRL are settled by the attitudes of the teams coming into the game so it is in no way concluded before kick off on Sunday. Melbourne do, however, hold the keys to take apart this St George Illawarra side with a better middle, better spine, and an excellent level of intensity in their past five wins.
The only catch, however, will be Melbourne looking past this game in anticipation for a preliminary final rematch against Penrith in Round 10. That may be somewhat negated by the Storm’s supremacy at home over the Dragons, having won 15 games in a row as the home side. The Dragons, while they may be underdogs, do outperform their expectancy, having covered the pre-match handicap in five of their nine games to date.Embed from Getty Images
On Anzac Day, the Melbourne Storm equaled their highest ever score against the New Zealand Warriors (70-10), which was previously set against St George-Illawarra in 2000 (70-10).
Melbourne Storm by 20
Follow Nothing But Rugby League on Facebook