Competition - NRL Premiership
Round - Round 01
Teams – Melbourne Storm v St George Illawarra Dragons
Date –    7th of March 2016
Venue – AAMI Park, Melbourne VIC
Photographer – Brett Crockford
Description –

Melbourne Storm v St George-Illawarra Dragons
Saturday June 18, 7.30pm
WIN Stadium

Storm and the Dragons will once against play for the Emergency Services Cup when they meet at WIN Stadium this Saturday night.
Melbourne will be chasing eight wins in a row for the first time since 2012 but will have to do it at a venue that has not proven a happy hunting ground.
You have to go back to 2005 for the last time Storm left Wollongong with the points. Granted the Victorian side has only ventured there twice since, but have won just four of nine games in total at WIN Stadium.
The Dragons on the other hand have won seven of their last nine at the ground.
Storm have spent the week preparing nearby at a training camp in Kiama. With Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk in Origin camp with the Maroons, Blake Green and Jesse Bromwich have been named to co-captain the side.
St George-Illawarra have named the same side that went down to the Bulldogs last week but will need to name a replacement for second-rower Tyson Frizell who was a late call up to NSW’s squad for Game II.
Tariq Sims is a big chance to slot into the Dragons' pack after his switch from the Knights earlier this week.

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Tigers, Sunday 26 June, 4pm.

Milestone: Cheyse Blair (50 NRL games)

Key Matchups:

Jordan McLean v Russell Packer
McLean gave NSW Blues selectors even more to ponder with last week’s performance. The 24-year-old managed to run for 142 metres from his 39 minutes and has been rock solid with the football in hand, committing just five errors for the entire season. He will come up against Dragons enforcer Russell Packerwho has ran for over 100 metres in his last five games. With no Tyson Frizell, the Dragons will be more reliant on Packer which makes this match-up a crucial one in the middle of the park.

Suliasi Vunivalu v Kurt Mann
Vunivalu is the second highest try scorer in the NRL this season with 11 to his name. That is a remarkable stat when you consider he did not make his debut until Round 7. The young Fijian continued his remarkable start to life at first grade with a maiden hat-trick against the Roosters. Standing in front of him this week will be former Storm player Kurt Mann. Mann started the year at fullback but has returned to the Dragons' line-up as a winger and has scored three tries in the last two games, including a double in last week’s loss to the Bulldogs. Two young players with very different skillsets will make for interesting viewing.
 

History: Played 32: Storm 23, Dragons 8, Drawn 1. Storm have won seven of the last nine games between these two teams.
 

What we’ve said:

“It is always a challenge (without the Origin boys but having said that we think we are probably in a better position now than the last few years” - Craig Bellamy

“Our emerging leadership group has really stepped up this year, we’ve got eight guys in that group. We’ve taken on a little bit more leadership in terms of the meetings and the talk around the field” – Dale Finucane

“That (defence) is something the Melbourne Storm is built on. That’s been not just this season but a number of seasons now. It’s something Craig has really focused on” – Dale Finucane
 

What they’ve said:

"You see the work Jesse gets through in a game and the things he does for the team and you realise he is a massive part of the Storm and why they have been so successful" – Russell Packer
 

Match Officials: Referee – Matt Cecchin; Assistant – Grant Atkins; Touch Judges – Jason Walsh & Ziggy Przeklasa-Adamski; Review Officials - Bryan Norrie & Jason Robinson; Senior Review Official - Luke Patten
 

Broadcast: TV –  Fox Sports 1, Radio – ABC Grandstand & 2GB, Online – NRL Digital Pass.
 

Squads:

Melbourne Storm

St George-Illawarra Dragons

1. Cameron Munster

1. Jason Nightingale

2. Suliasi Vunivalu

2. Kalifa Faifai Loa

3. Cheyse Blair

3. Euan Aitken

4. Ryan Morgan

4. Tim Lafai

5. Marika Koroibete

5. Kurt Mann

6. Tohu Harris

6. Gareth Widdop (c)

7. Blake Green ©

7. Benji Marshall

8. Jesse Bromwich ©

8. Leeson Ah Mau

9. Kenny Bromwich

9. Mitch Rein

10. Jordan McLean

10. Russell Packer

11. Kevin Proctor

11. Tyson Frizell

12. Felise Kaufusi

12. Joel Thompson

13. Dale Finucane

13. Mike Cooper

 

 

Bench

Bench

14. Nelson Asofa-Solomona

14. Jack de Belin

15. Tim Glasby

15. Will Matthews

16. Christian Welch

16. Siliva Havili

17. Young Tonumaipea

18. Jake Marketo

18. Matt White