MATCH PREVIEW | St George Illawarra Dragons vs Melbourne Storm

Todd Warren previews Dragons vs Storm in the last Origin affected round.

TEAM FORM GUIDE

St George-Illawarra Dragons

Inconsistency from the Dragons. They’re sitting 10th on the ladder after a five game losing streak earlier in the season. They got a win against a struggling Cowboys last week but had a big loss to Manly the week before.

Melbourne Storm

The best side in the competition proven by the fact they’re sitting three wins clear of second place. They’ve only lost two games all season by a total of three points. They’ve won six in a row and are a good chance to make it seven.

SQUAD NEWS

St George-Illawarra Dragons

Ben Hunt, Corey Norman, Paul Vaughan and Tyson Frizell are all out for Origin while Tariq Sims was unsuccessful at the judiciary so will sit out for three weeks for his hit on Michael Morgan. Jai Field and Darren Nicholls are the halves, Korbin Sims and Jeremy Latimore are your starting props while Jacobs Host joins Luciano Leilua and Blake Lawrie in the back row.

St George-Illawarra Dragons team list:

1. Matthew Dufty 2. Jonus Pearson 3. Euan Aitken 4. Timoteo Lafai 5. Mikaele Ravalawa 6. Jai Field 7. Darren Nicholls 8. Korbin Sims 9. Cameron McInnes 10. Jeremy Latimore 11. Jacob Host 12. Luciano Leilua 13. Blake Lawrie 14. Josh Kerr 15. Reece Robson 16. Patrick Kaufusi 17. Mitchell Allgood 18. Jordan Pereira 19. Jackson Ford 20. Lachlan Timm 21. Tristan Sailor.

Melbourne Storm

Big changes as Cameron Munster, Christian Welch, Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi, Josh Addo-Carr and Will Chambers are all out on Origin duty. Jahrome Hughes returns at fullback, Sandor Earl gets another shot on the wing, Solomone Kata makes his Storm debut in the centres, Billy Walters starts at 5/8 and the impressive Brandon Smith will play at lock.

Melbourne Storm team list:

1. Jahrome Hughes 2. Suliasi Vunivalu 4. Solomone Kata 3. Justin Olam 5. Sandor Earl 6. Billy Walters 7. Brodie Croft 8. Jesse Bromwich 9. Cameron Smith 10. Nelson Asofa-Solomona 11. Joe Stimson 12. Kenneath Bromwich 13. Brandon Smith 14. Albert Vete 15. Tino Faasuamaleaui 16. Tui Kamikamica 17. Ryan Papenhuyzen 18. Marion Seve 19. Tom Eisenhuth 20. Max King 21. Harry Grant.

HEAD TO HEAD

Storm have the edge here with seven wins of the last ten games, including a big win last time they faced off with a 52-30 win in Round 17 last season.

KEY BATTLE

The battle of the hookers is key here. We have future immortal and holder of pretty much every record in the game Cam Smith up against the man who was tossed up as an Origin prospect last year in Cam McInnes. Both are integral in any success their sides have, although it’s a massive ask for McInnes to line up against probably the greatest player in the history of the game. The vision Smith has is second to none and he can control the flow of the game better than anyone. Obviously he no longer has to worry about playing rep football so he can focus purely on the Storm, which is obviously massive for a team that’s already sitting 6 points clear on top of the ladder.

THE IMPORTANT DETAILS

Date: Thursday July 4
Venue: WIN Stadium
Kick-off: 7:50pm
Referee: Ben Cummins, Dave Munro

WHO WILL WIN?

Hard to see the Dragons putting up too much of a fight here. Both teams have a few players out but the depth of the Storm squad means they can still field a 17 capable of beating most full strength sides. Storm by 18 with Cam Smith getting an early rest.

 

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