St George Illawarra Dragons vs Melbourne Storm: NRL live scores, blog
Mercurial Billy Slater for the Melbourne Storm in the NRL (Image: AAP)
Scores updated each minute. REFRESH NOW
St George-Illa. Vs. Melbourne
2012 NRL Premiership Season, 28 July, 2012
|WIN Stadium, Wollongong, NSW|
|St George-Illa. 26 defeated Melbourne 18|
|Referee: B Cummins|
|Touch judges: J Younis & S Carrall|
Both the St George Illawarra Dragons and Melbourne Storm are in desperate need of a win – and the Storm finally welcome back superstar Billy Slater. Join us for live scores and commentary from 7:30pm AEST.
Melbourne succumbed to one of their worst losses in years last week, tasting defeat against wooden spoon favourites Parramatta.
Despite dominating possession and territory, the Storm never looked convincing in attack as they struggled to penetrate an enthusiastic Eels defence.
The Storm are now riding a four match losing streak and face a real fight to maintain their position inside the top four with several teams biting at their heels.
In welcome news for Melbourne however, Slater makes his return from injury tonight and his class could prove to be the difference against the Dragons tonight.
The Dragons are coming off a heavy loss to South Sydney but the red V are at home and will prove difficult to upstage for Melbourne, given their performance against Parramatta.
Defence wins big matches and the Dragons will have to be at their best tonight without the football if they are to beat Melbourne.
Against Parramatta, the Storm were left severely frustrated by the Eels ability to get numbers around the football, and this in turn had a massive effect on Melbourne’s creativity.
Even with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk playing, the Storm looked devoid of ideas in attack at times last week, and if the Dragons can frustrate their opponents again, it will go a long way to nullifying Melbourne’s attack.
That said, Slater’s presence tonight means that the Dragons will have to work significantly harder than Parramatta to keep Melbourne to a low score tonight.
Slater is a master of igniting Melbourne’s second phase play with his speed, and his ability to get around defenders remains rivalled only by Cowboys fullback Matt Bowen.
If Slater receives possession in space, the Storm’s attack will rediscover its clinical edge and the Dragons will be in for a long night.
Having missed the past several weeks with injury however, it may take a while for Slater to hit the ground running, so the Dragons will be well served to maintain possession and keep their discipline in check for as long as possible.
The longer the Dragons can keep Smith, Cronk and Slater from dictating play, the better their chances will be of attaining victory.
With both teams struggling for form, this match promises to go down to the wire. Melbourne however possesses more match winners than the Dragons and it wouldn’t surprise to see Slater dominate in his return from injury.
Storm by 7
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