The Bulldogs scored their third win of the season with last week's comeback victory over the Titans, overturning a 16-0 deficit to prevail 22-16.
Now comes a much trickier obstacle on Sunday, but the Doggies showed in round four that they don't fear the Storm, going down 18-16 in Melbourne after leading most of the game. This time they are at home with the Belmore faithful ringing in their ears.
Last week's away win eased the pressure on Dean Pay and he will be asking for a full 80-minute effort on Sunday.
The Storm got out of jail (again) last week against the Wests Tigers and Craig Bellamy will demand a much improved performance on Sunday.
Bulldogs: Christian Crichton replaces the injured Jayden Okunbor (foot) on the wing in the only change from last week's win over the Titans. Lachlan Lewis and Kerrod Holland were omitted from the reserves on Saturday and Michael Lichaa and Raymond Faitala-Mariner dropped out an hour before game time.
Storm: Melbourne have also had a relatively smooth preparation and haven't made any changes. The return of fullback Jahrome Hughes (concussion) pushes breakout star Ryan Papenhuyzen back to the interchange with Christian Welch (knee) the man to drop out. Justin Olam and Patrick Kaufusi were trimmed from the reserves on Saturday while Tino Fa'asuamaleaui and Sandor Earl were omitted an hour before kick-off.
Kieran Foran has had a positive influence on the Doggies since returning from an injury layoff. He was instrumental in last week's comeback win over the Titans, ensuring his younger teammates didn't panic when they trailed 16-0. Foran is up against one of the best in the business in Cam Munster and needs to produce something special.
For the Bulldogs to win
They won't be able to sneak up on Melbourne like they did in round four, but they showed last week when they came back from 16-0 down to beat the Titans that they aren't afraid of a challenge. Dean Pay had the right game plan in their previous meeting and will be revving up his players this week that they have unfinished business against the NRL's perennial heavyweights.
For the Storm to win
They've shown their ruthless streak at times in 2019 but not often enough for Craig Bellamy's liking. The Storm need a strong start to avoid having to play catch-up and will be aiming to dominate through their forwards. Cam Smith and Cam Munster will look to exploit any defensive weaknesses and Bellamy will be counting on his back three to fire.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Bulldogs are coming off a victory and should feel they have the blueprint to beat the Storm after almost beating them in Melbourne in round four. They spread the ball a lot against the Storm in that first clash, moving them sideways, and then crashed through them. They're going to have to start the game a lot better than they did last week – you can't afford to gift Melbourne early points. The Storm are coping with a new fullback and new centre combinations recently, but they're such a disciplined side that I expect them to win what could be a close encounter. Storm by 4.
The Bulldogs boast an 80% completion rate on average - tops in the NRL. Melbourne are one of three teams sharing second spot with a 79% average. Canterbury have made the most tackles (3,535), while the Storm are setting the pace in tackle breaks (352) and kick-return metres (2,222).
And another thing ...
Cameron Munster chalks up his 100th NRL game on Sunday. The 24 year-old debuted for the Storm midway through the 2014 season and has represented Queensland four times and Australia twice. Munster was part of Melbourne's 2017 premiership-winning team and is a candidate for the Maroons' captaincy for the upcoming 2019 Origin series.