We're expecting a tough challenge

Melbourne Storm Coach Craig Bellamy is expecting a "really tough challenge" when his side take on the Dragons in Monday Night Football at AAMI Park.

Like Melbourne, St. George Illawarra enter the clash following consecutive defeats however Bellamy believes that the Dragons performed better than their 6-26 loss to South Sydney last weekend suggested.

"I didn't think they played too poorly against Souths to be quite honest," Bellamy said.

"As with every game but certainly this one, we're expecting a really tough challenge down here, they've certainly got the team and individuals to do it.

"They've got a few new players there from last year. That brings a bit of enthusiasm, a bit of excitement from those players going to a new club. It also brings a few different ides."

Melbourne's defence has been much talked about over the first portion of the season after conceding 128 points from five games. Bellamy emphasised the effort his side has put in to tightening that side of their game.

"We are nowhere near where we expect to be and something we've worked really hard on," Bellamy said.

"Hopefully we see some results on Monday night.

"We've got a long turn around, so we've had a bit of a break as well so the players have had plenty of rest. 

"When we've trained we've really had our nose to the grindstone to be quite honest."

Monday night also marks the first time Dragons recruit Gareth Widdop will face his old side. Widdop played 70 games for Melbourne during 2010 and 2013 and played a pivotal role in the club's 2012 premiership victory.

"We're really happy that Gaz is doing really well," Bellamy said.

"He was a really good player here for us, obviously he played in our premiership win here in 2012. 

"He wasn't brought up in Melbourne but he came here as a young man, it was a bit of a loss to the Melbourne faithful to lose him."