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.
Match: Bulldogs v Storm
Round 11 -
Venue: Belmore Sports Ground
- LIVE PASS
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.
Fullback for Bulldogs is number 1 Nick MeaneyFullback for Storm is number 1 Jahrome Hughes
Winger for Bulldogs is number 2 Christian CrichtonWinger for Storm is number 2 Suliasi Vunivalu
Centre for Bulldogs is number 3 Marcelo MontoyaCentre for Storm is number 3 Will Chambers
Centre for Bulldogs is number 4 Will HopoateCentre for Storm is number 4 Marion Seve
Winger for Bulldogs is number 5 Reimis SmithWinger for Storm is number 5 Josh Addo-Carr
Five-Eighth for Bulldogs is number 6 Kieran ForanFive-Eighth for Storm is number 6 Cameron Munster
Halfback for Bulldogs is number 7 Jack CoggerHalfback for Storm is number 7 Brodie Croft
Prop for Bulldogs is number 8 Aiden TolmanProp for Storm is number 8 Jesse Bromwich
Hooker for Bulldogs is number 9 Jeremy Marshall-KingHooker for Storm is number 9 Cameron Smith
Prop for Bulldogs is number 10 Dylan NapaProp for Storm is number 10 Nelson Asofa-Solomona
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 11 Josh Jackson2nd Row for Storm is number 11 Felise Kaufusi
2nd Row for Bulldogs is number 12 Corey Harawira-Naera2nd Row for Storm is number 12 Kenneath Bromwich
Lock for Bulldogs is number 13 Chris SmithLock for Storm is number 13 Dale Finucane
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 14 Rhyse MartinInterchange for Storm is number 14 Brandon Smith
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 15 Ofahiki OgdenInterchange for Storm is number 15 Joe Stimson
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 16 Danny FualaloInterchange for Storm is number 16 Tui Kamikamica
Interchange for Bulldogs is number 17 Sauaso SueInterchange for Storm is number 17 Ryan Papenhuyzen
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.