Stingy Storm happy with defence
After a one year hiatus, the Storm of old appears to have returned to the NRL.
For nearly a decade the Melbourne side has ranked in the top three teams for fewest points conceded, dating back to 2005.
That statistic took a steep slide last season as they slumped to 8th in the competition after conceding an average of 19.2 points a game.
But on Monday night that defensive swagger looked to be back as the Storm made 407 tackles in their 12-4 win over the Dragons, the highest tackle tally of any team in Round 1.
This included a backs-to-the-wall first half that saw them make 33 tackles inside their own 20 metres during the opening 35 minutes.
They also managed to keep their opposition to a single digit score, something that took them until Round 18 to achieve last season.
Even though he was not around the club in 2014, Blake Green was quickly told by coach Craig Bellamy of where the side needed to improve.
"That was something that he [Bellamy] highlighted pretty early on in the preseason that he was disappointed with how we defended last season," Green said.
"Craig spoke about that where we wanted to work on was our defence so we certainly got plenty of opportunities to do that in the game and I thought we did alright.
"He was obviously pretty happy with Monday night's effort defensively but we need to probably improve our discipline a little bit and make sure we control the ball better as well."
10 errors, nine penalties and a completion rate of just 70% indicates a far from complete performance from the men in purple in Round 1.
That being said the solid debut of Green provided a big positive for Melbourne, who looks to have finally found a solid five-eighth for the first time since Gareth Widdop's departure 18 months ago.
Green looked comfortable partnering Cooper Cronk in the halves despite the pair being unable to play any of the trial games together.
With just four days between games the Storm must quickly turn their attention to Manly and a tough trip to Brookvale Oval.
While the Sea Eagles had the Round 1 from hell both on and off the field, Green is adamant that will make the home side even more dangerous.
"It just gives them more motivation doesn't it?" he said.
"They've been known for a team that can dig in for a fight and show plenty of resolve the past few years so we are expecting nothing less.
"We all know how well they can rally around each other when they are under the pump and the type of performance they can put in, so that is what we are expecting on Sunday."
The Sea Eagles and the Storm will continue their rivalry on Saturday night at Brookvale Oval.
The views expressed in this article are solely of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Melbourne Storm Rugby League Club.