The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Melbourne Storm will take an unchanged side into this Sunday?s second semi final against the Bulldogs at Aussie Stadium (3pm).
After beating the Raiders by 12 points in Canberra last Friday night the Storm will head into this week?s clash having lost its past six matches against the Bulldogs.
Storm five-eighth Matt Geyer believes there is no better time to rectify this record than Sunday?s semi final, despite Melbourne?s last win over the Bulldogs dating back to the 2000 season.
?I think a lot of team have strong records over us ? not so much this year ? but over the past couple of seasons because we haven?t lived up to expectations and we haven?t played good footy,? Geyer said.
?The Bulldogs would probably be at the top of that pile, we?ve beaten all of the other top eight teams over the past few years but the Doggies are the team that stands out.
?What better time to arrest the slide than this week?s semi final.?
The Storm?s first encounter with the Bulldogs this year was a closely fought affair at Olympic Park with the visitors running out ten-point victors.
The second was a very different story with the Storm on the wrong end of 36-point hiding. Melbourne was without Cameron Smith and Mitchell Sargent for that return match in Sydney.
?I don?t think there?s an issue in the sense that we?ve lost the past six matches to the Bulldogs but I do think there?s an issue in that we find it hard to combat their style of football,? Geyer explained.
?We need to work hard and find a weak link in their game, other teams have managed to but we haven?t over the past few years.
?We probably should have won the game down here at Olympic Park this year but we?ve got a big task in front of us to turn around a 36-point loss a couple of months ago.
?But in saying that, if we haven?t learnt from that last match then we are our own fools.?
Since the halfway mark of the season the Storm has only lost on three occasions, twice to the Bulldogs and once to the Broncos. The first Bulldogs loss was by 10 points and the loss to Brisbane came after conceding a try in extra time.
?You look at our games since we lost to the Rabbitohs mid-year and we?ve probably only had one really bad game and that was against the Bulldogs in round 22,? Geyer added.
?Apart from that we?ve only lost to the Broncos and to the Bulldogs in that first match, both of which were close games that we probably should have won.?
After taking over at pivot for the injured Scott Hill this year Geyer has been one of the league?s leading five-eighths and there is some suggestion that the former NSW winger is in line for a Kangaroo tour later this year.
?If I was lucky enough to be picked at the end of the season I?d do my best to not let anyone down but just to hear people talking about it is a thrill for me,? Geyer admitted.
?I?d never really thought about playing State of Origin until I did and I?d never really thought about playing in a grand final until I did, but now that the idea has come up it?s something I?ve been thinking about.
?But the longer you stay in the competition the better chance you are, to stay in the competition longer you need to win games and the best way to win games is to keep doing what you?ve been doing.?
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE BULLDOGS, THIS SUNDAY AT AUSSIE STADIUM, 3.00PM
1. Billy Slater 2. Fifita Moala 3. Steven Bell 4. David Kidwell 5. Marcus Bai 6. Matt Geyer 7. Matt Orford 8. Robbie Kearns 9. Cameron Smith 10. Kirk Reynoldson 11. Peter Robinson 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Glen Turner