Last Time Played: Dragons v Storm
The Storm, minus injured halfback Cooper Cronk, ground out an 8-6 victory over the Red V in an error-riddled clash at AAMI Park in Round 24 last year.
The visitors drew first blood with 18 minutes gone when Kyle Stanley crossed after a trademark Dragons left-side sweep; however the play attracted howls of protest from Storm players who were convinced the final pass from Darius Boyd to Stanley was forward.
Storm captain Cameron Smith engineered the equaliser for his side seven minutes later when he feigned to grubber kick into the Dragons’ in-goal from dummy-half, instead shooting the ball wide to fill-in halfback Gareth Widdop who fed winger Anthony Quinn on the left edge.
The Storm pressured the Dragons’ line in the minutes leading up to halftime; they took an 8-6 lead to the break courtesy of a Smith penalty goal after St George Illawarra prop Michael Weyman was penalised for holding in the tackle.
The scoreless second half was a dour, lacklustre affair with both sides bumbling their way through their sets. The Storm completed their sets at a poor 55 per cent while the Dragons couldn’t even manage a pass mark, completing just seven of 15 sets with the ball in hand. Both sides struggled to get into their groove, making 12 errors apiece throughout the 80 minutes, with the Storm adding a whopping nine in the second stanza alone.
The fullbacks were the key to their side’s fortunes with Billy Slater running for 215 metres with seven tackle busts while Darius Boyd added 193 metres and offered a try assist.