Defence top priority for Storm: Slater
Two losses on the trot and gaping holes defensively have left the Melbourne Storm with plenty to ponder this week.
Sunday's two-point defeat at the hands of the Gold Coast Titans has left Craig Bellamy's side in an unfamiliar ninth position five rounds into the season.
The bulk of concern lies defensively where the Storm have conceded 88 points in their past three games.
The last time the team conceded that many points over a three-week period was eight years ago (Rounds 4-6, 2006).
Captain Cameron Smith was critical of his side's attitude without the ball in recent weeks, a thought that is also echoed by star fullback Billy Slater.
"We've leaked a lot of points over the past couple of weeks which is not like us at the Melbourne Storm," said Slater.
"We try and measure ourselves off the performances rather than the result and certainly in the past couple of weeks our performances have not been up to standard.
"I'm sure Craig and the coaching staff will be focusing on that over the next week."
Melbourne will host St George Illawarra on Monday night, giving the Victorian side eight days to regroup.
"It gives us a bit of time to work on things," said Slater.
"Usually after a loss you want to get back out there and work on things but I think we've got a bit to work on the training paddock so the eight day break is certainly not going to hurt us."
Defense has been the buzz word in recent meeting between the Storm and Dragons.
In their past seven meetings dating back to Round 19, 2008, the teams have scored more than 18 points against each other on just one occasion, when Melbourne defeated the Dragons 26-18 in Round 21, 2012.
Given Melbourne and St George Illawarra currently rank fourth and fifth respectively in the competition for points against, defence is an area that both teams will need to rediscover.
"St George have been playing some good football and they would have been disappointed in their efforts as well so I think you can expect both sides to be focusing on defence," said Slater.
"I wasn't aware of the past few games being low scoring but if that's the case it is going to be a tough, grinding game."
The Storm will host the Dragons next at 7pm on Monday night at AAMI Park.