Sosaia Feki tackled by Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk  Digital Image by Brett Crockford ©nrlphotos.com :	    NRL, Rugby League, Round 23,  Melbourne Storm v  Cronulla Sharks @ AAMI Park, Melbourne, VIC, Saturday 16th August, 2014.

A hot topic for the majority of the season, Melbourne's improvement in defence has coincided with a consistent patch of football in recent weeks.  

With Storm currently sitting in fifth position on the NRL table thanks four wins from five matches, melbournestorm.com.au takes a look at where the defensive improvement and performance ranks compared to others in the competition.

Following Melbourne's Round 16 loss to the Dragons in Wollongong, Craig Bellamy's side sat precariously outside the top eight. A renewed energy and strong attitude in defence has helped them consolidate their position amongst the NRL's top eight as seven teams clamour for the remaining four finals positions.

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Entering the final three weeks of the season, Storm need to continue their defensive revival which has seen them rise 10 places for points conceded across the league. Holding the 13th worst record defensively after the opening 17 rounds, Storm has managed to turn it around. It now boasts the third best defence over the last six weeks of competition.

On Saturday night, Cameron Smith stated the importance for his side to continue a high standard and healthy diligence in defence over the coming weeks.

"If you can't defend well, you can't expect to win footy games," Smith said. 

"If we keep performing well and we get some results our way we are going to be in the finals.

From experience, defence is what wins big games, defence is what wins matches against good sides, and we're playing three of them in our last three matches."

Melbourne travel to Penrith in Round 24 to take on the Panthers, Monday 25 August.

Average points conceded

Rounds 1-17
1. South Sydney - 15.2
2. Canterbury - 16
3. Penrith - 16.2
4. Manly - 16.7
5. Brisbane - 16.7
6. Sydney - 16.9
7. North Queensland - 18.3
8. Gold Coast - 20.4
9. Warriors - 21
10. St. George Illawarra - 22.3
11. Wests Tigers - 22.5
12. Newcastle - 22.8
13. Melbourne - 22.8
14. Parramatta - 23.1
15. Cronulla - 24.4
16. Canberra - 26

Rounds 18-23 (last five games)
1. Manly - 11.83
2. North Queensland - 11* 
3. Melbourne - 12
4. South Sydney - 12
5. Sydney - 14.4
6. Warriors - 18
7. St.George Illawarra - 19
8. Penrith - 20.8*
9. Gold Coast - 22.8
10. Parramatta - 24.3
11. Canterbury - 24.8
12. Brisbane - 25.8
13. Newcastle - 26.3
14. Cronulla - 29.8
15. Canberra - 31.33
16. Wests Tigers - 37.6

*Yet to play in Round 23