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Dragons' lair no happy hunting ground for Storm

Dragons' lair no happy hunting ground for Storm
Benji Marshall and Gareth Widdop hold the key to the Dragons' chances against the Storm on Monday night. Credit: Robb Cox. Copyright: NRL Photos.

Whether it be revenge, redemption or a desperation to overturn an injustice, Melbourne should be prepared for a fired-up Dragons side come Monday night.

Despite holding a favourable head-to-head record over the Dragons, the Storm have not won an away fixture between these two clubs since Round 5, 2007.

The last meeting between the teams ended in a whirlwind of controversy after Young Tonumaipea scored a try in the final minute to steal the unlikeliest of Storm victories.

A review conducted in aftermath revealed that final try should have been disallowed after the play-of-the-ball was taken after the final siren had sounded. 

Since that Round 6 defeat the Dragons' season has unraveled, losing five of their next seven games whilst sacking coach Steve Price in the midst of that slump.

This time around however the X-factor could be Benji Marshall, who along with former Storm halfback Gareth Widdop has helped guide St George Illawarra to two wins in their past three matches.

Storm prop Bryan Norrie said the visitors understood it would be no mean feat to shut down the talented Dragons halves on Monday night.

"You can try to stop them but we all know how gifted Gaz is. We've played plenty of football with him and he is a very gifted footballer," Norrie told

"Then you've got Benji Marshall and we all know what he can do.

"They've got a great halves pairing and they've actually been complimenting each other with the way they've been playing the last couple of weeks.

"It makes their attack on both edges very hard to stop."

Monday night's game coincides with a crucial point in Melbourne's season.

A win would put them within touching distance of the top four, while a loss could have them out of the eight by the end of the round.

With just four premiership points separating 4th and 11th spot on the NRL ladder, the competition is alive with a long list of finals hopefuls.

Norrie said slip-ups are something no team can afford at this stage of the season.

"I think everybody in the NRL knows how tight the comp is and how close the ladder is," said Norrie.

"We do just try and concentrate week to week but we are well aware that if you lose a game or two you can be right out of the eight. 

"You have to try and get your wins for sure because I'd say the eight could rely on for and against as well to get in at the end of the year."

Norrie should have had plenty to gloat about during the week after getting among the try scorers against the Eels last Sunday for just the ninth time in his 169 game career.

However it was the man who set up the veteran's shining moment that was out to steal his spotlight. 

"Hinchy's [Ryan Hinchcliffe] has been carrying on a bit, thinking he's set me up for the try." Said Norrie.

"I'll give him credit, he played really well and he hooked me up for a meat pie which I don't get many of.

"Most front rowers are pretty excited when they get a try but it was a bit of fun and I appreciate the big fella hooking me up."

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