Looking For An Ounce Of Luck

A bit of luck and three straight victories is all that's required for St George Illawarra to make this year's finals, according to coach Nathan Brown.

The uphill battle to keep the National Rugby League team's season alive begins in earnest on Friday when the ninth-placed Dragons take on Melbourne at WIN Stadium.

St George Illawarra will meet three of the four teams sitting above them on 28 points on the table - four ahead of the Dragons - over the final rounds of the regular season.

They must win all those games and rely on either Brisbane, Melbourne, NZ Warriors or Newcastle falling in a heap.

A punter by nature, Brown was asked on Thursday to rate his side's chances of securing a finals berth.

"I can't say each way," said the part-owner of horse Private Steer.

"We're definitely a good chance if we put our best foot forward in the next three weeks and have a touch of luck.

"Our big concern for us is Melbourne tomorrow night and if we win that, then we'll worry about Newcastle and then Brisbane."

Brown added he believed 30 points would be good enough to make the top eight this year.

His odds of beating the Storm, who are coming off a 50-12 thrashing of Parramatta, will be significantly boosted by the return of former Kangaroo centre Mark Gasnier from a quads injury.

Hooker Mark Riddell (virus) has not trained this week but he will be available on Friday, with Brown needing all hands on deck.

The rookie coach today talked a lot about luck, something the Dragons have had an absence of this season.

Test representatives Jason Ryles and Trent Barrett and winger Amos Roberts are sidelined with season-ending injuries while hard-working second-rower Lance Thompson and Gasnier have also been plagued by injury.

The Storm will be without play-making lock Scott Hill (shoulder), but it shouldn't pose too much of a problem because the former Test lock has also been rarely sighted on the paddock in 2003 and his side just keeps on winning.

The highlight of the game should be the clash between stand-out rookie of the year candidates, Dragons halfback Brett Firman and electrifying Storm fullback Billy Slater.

Following losses to the Warriors and Cronulla, St George Illawarra will need a huge turn-around in form for the players to avoid packing their bags early for their end-of-season trip to Hawaii.

"If we play really well tomorrow night and get beat then you can't complain about that," said Brown.

"Last week (against the Sharks) we played poor and blokes' attitude wasn't right."