Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy is looking for his team to step up a gear as it aims to snap the Bulldogs? ten game winning streak this Sunday at Olympic Park (3pm).
After cementing itself in sixth position on the NRL ladder following a commanding 18-point win over the Raiders in Canberra last week, Bellamy is hoping his troops can raise the bar with just three matches left in the regular season.
?After last weekend we are certainly looking at taking another step and we?ll have to do that against the Bulldogs this week,? Bellamy said.
The Storm will be looking to secure its first win over the Bulldogs in four years this week, as well as aiming to atone for the 18-25 loss suffered in Round 18 earlier this year.
But Melbourne will host a Bulldogs outfit that is in season-best form having won their past ten matches, the longest current streak in the NRL and one that Bellamy admits will be hard to break.
?It?s a great run they?ve put together, especially in a competition such as ours,? Bellamy added.
?They are in great form and I?m sure (Bulldogs coach) Steve Folks will be hoping they can hang on to that form for another three or four weeks leading into the semis.
?They are probably due (for a loss) at some stage hopefully.
?I know some people probably think that they peaked a little bit early but it doesn?t look like they have and they?re going to be really tough this Sunday and they?ll be really tough in September.?
Aside from last week?s return to form, the Storm?s run in recent weeks hasn?t been as impressive, but Bellamy believes his side is ready to build on the Canberra victory.
?Every team goes through a bit of a flat period, we?ve been pretty consistent this year but our flat spot came at a bad time of the season,? Bellamy said.
?A couple of suspensions and a few injuries all coincided in what was a pretty ordinary month for us but the guys really fought hard on the weekend and got a result, hopefully we can push forward from here.?
Bellamy today named an unchanged side from the line-up that recorded its fifth straight win over the Raiders last week.
After scoring a try with his first touch in first-grade last week, Jeremy Smith keeps his place on a five man bench that includes Dustin Cooper, who has been added to the side after missing last week?s match with a leg infection.
Kirk Reynoldson has not been named due to a torn calf muscle suffered two weeks ago.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE BULLDOGS, SUNDAY AUGUST 22, AT OLYMPIC PARK (3PM):
1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Geyer 3. Steven Bell 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Matt King 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Robbie Kearns 9. Cameron Smith 10. Rodney Howe 11. David Kidwell 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Dallas Johnson
14.Glen Turner 15.Ryan Hoffman 16.Jeremy Smith 17.Cooper Cronk 18.Dustin Cooper
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK Wednesday: 11am, Gosch?s Paddock Thursday: Olympic park, 2pm For further information contact James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]