Dragons Battling Melbourne Hoodoo

Image courtesy of theaustralian.com.au
None of the current Dragons have celebrated a win in Melbourne. Image courtesy of the australian.com.au
Melbourne Storm v St George/Illawarra Dragons
Monday, April 14 – 7.05pm (AEST)
AAMI Park, Melbourne


Form guide:
Melbourne: LLWWW
Dragons: LLWWW

Things you need to know:
Storm made the lone change to the side that lost to Gold Coast on Sunday, with suspended forward Dayne Weston coming out for Tim Glasby. Justin O'Neill (knee) remains a fortnight off returning, while Jordan McLean (suspension) will be available to return for Storm's Round 13 clash against the Roosters. Off-season signing George Rose has requested for a release back to NSW, but will reportedly play out the season in Melbourne.
The Dragons have named a 19-man squad to travel to Melbourne, with Michael Witt replacing Adam Quinlan as starting half-back. Jack De Belin (suspended) is replaced by Jack Stockwell, while Bronson Harrison and Josh Ailaomai are part of a six-man bench. Matt Groat (groin) and Tyson Frizzell (ankle) remain sidelined.

Reason to watch:
Gareth Widdop. The premiership-winning five-eighth comes up against his old side for the first time since defecting to the Dragons. The Englishman has cooled off in recent weeks after a blistering start to the season but is sure to lift against his former team-mates on Monday night.

Reason to turn away:
St George have never won in Melbourne since merging with Illawarra. And the losses have been spread across four venues in the Victorian capital. The closest the Red V have come to taking the two points back across the border was a 17-16 loss in Round 1, 2009. Since, they also had an 8-6 loss in Round 24, 2011. Add to that statistic that Storm have not lost three games in succession since a five-game streak in 2012, which was affected by Origin absences. All these numbers point to Storm running riot at home on Monday night.

Say what:
"We're having a fair few points scored against us last few weeks, we need to put a little bit of a leash on that. We've done some good things on the weekend again, we just seem to lack a bit of urgency at times. And that'll be certainly part of what we do this week,"- Storm coach Craig Bellamy.

Final word:

Melbourne don't lose three in a row outside of Origin season. They haven't done so since 2002. They also don't lose to the Dragons in Melbourne. Granted Steve Price's men have begun their season with three wins, but a couple of heavy losses has sapped their momentum ahead of a trip to a what poses to be a fired-up Storm. While depleted in a few areas of the park, and uncharacteristically leaky in defence, Melbourne should put up enough points to break their losing run. Storm by eight points.

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