Storm of the future
With six players currently away on Origin duty, Thursday night will provide Storm fans with a look into the bright future of this Club. Ryan Hoffman and Cameron Smith have played more NRL games between them than the other 17 players in the squad combined. Only one other player, Kenny Bromwich, has played over 80 games. While experience will be lacking against the Dragons, flair, dare and youthful exuberance will not. Suliasi Vunivalu, Curtis Scott, Jahrome Hughes, Nelson Asofa-Solomona, Joe Stimson and Brandon Smith are just some of rising Storm stars who will light up AAMI Park and give Storm fans plenty to be excited about heading into the next generation.
Match: Storm v Dragons
Round 17 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
What a win/loss means
It is getting to that point in the season where the eyes begin to wander to the ladder and the calculator comes out to work out the potential impact the weekend's result can have. Thursday night is one of those games that brings with it that level of importance. With the Panthers (4th) and Warriors (5th) playing one another, should Storm defeat the Dragons it would mean they would move a game clear inside the top four and just one win off top spot. A defeat however would mean Craig Bellamy's mean could be equal with eighth place on 22 competition points.
A Graveyard for the Dragons
1999 - that is how long it has been since St George Illawarra tasted success in Melbourne. The Dragons are on a run of 12 consecutive losses in the southern state. It is a slice of history Paul McGregor's men will be desperate to put to bed. They have gone close though in their last two trips to AAMI Park, falling by just two points in 2016 and four points in 2014.
Emergency Services Cup
For the tenth consecutive year Melbourne Storm and St George Illawarra will play for the Emergency Services Cup. Both teams began the concept the honour all the Emergency Services personnel who dedicate themselves to protecting both the NSW and Victorian people. The Dragons are the current holders of the trophy having won the earlier meeting between these two teams back in Round 9. All Emergency Services people will be given 50 per cent off their tickets to the game on Thursday night.