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What you need to know - Round 9

High flying Dragons
It has been some sort of start to the season by St. George Illawarra. They sit of top of the ladder with a 7-1 record, their best start to a season since 2011. The Dragons boast the best defence and attack in the NRL with Storm hot on their heels, ranked second behind them in both categories. They have also won all five home games this year. It is a similar situation to the last time Storm paid the Dragons a visit in Round 9 last season. Paul McGregor's men were in a similar run of form, sitting second on the ladder but on that occasion the men from Victoria road into town and were able to take the chocolates.

Dragons rack up Storm defeats
St. George Illawarra have lost more games to Melbourne than any other team in their history. Storm have been able to defeat the Dragons on 24 occasions over their 20-year history. More recent times have seen the head-to-head dominated by Melbourne, who have triumphed over the Red V in 17 of their 22 meetings.

Storm sweat on trio's fitness
They are named in the side, however the wait goes on as to whether Suliasi Vunivalu, Dale Finucane and Curtis Scott will play on Sunday. Vunivalu missed ANZAC Day with a mild hamstring while Finucane was considered just too soon to return from his broken thumb. Scott suffered a high ankle sprain in the second half of the win over the Warriors and did not return to the field. While scans revealed the damage was not as bad as first thought, the 20-year-old centre is racing the clock to make the trip to Kogarah.

Emergency Services Cup
Storm and the Dragons will once again play for the Emergency Services Cup when they meet on Sunday. This is the ninth consecutive year both teams have played for the trophy since it was first launched in 2009 to recognise the Emergency Services personnel who dedicate themselves to protecting both the NSW and Victorian people. To mark the occasion, a Westpac Life Saver Rescue helicopter will be landing on the field in the build-up to the game.

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.