The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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In the build up to the Storm?s clash with the Wests Tigers this Saturday night, Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has resisted the urge to change his side following last week?s seven-point loss to the Bulldogs.
Bellamy has named an unchanged side from the team that narrowly lost to the Bulldogs at the Sydney Showground last Sunday, with the only addition being that of outside back Dustin Cooper to an extended bench.
But the Melbourne coach has warned his troops that Wests should not be underestimated despite the recent form slump that has seen the Tigers drop their past four matches and plummet from sixth to 12th position on the NRL ladder.
?After our performance last week we shouldn?t be underestimating anyone, I?ll be disappointed if that?s the case on Saturday night,? Bellamy said.
?It?s a good test every week in this competition and the Tigers will certainly be no different. We were obviously disappointed with some of the aspects of our game against the Bulldogs last week and hopefully we can improve on those areas this week.?
When Melbourne hosted Wests in Round 13 earlier this year the Storm came away with a tough four-point win in one of the most physical contests the club has encountered in 2004.
?We?ve played the Tigers twice since I?ve been here in Melbourne and both have been very physical games so I don?t think that?s going to change this week,? Bellamy added.
Storm winger Matt King agreed with his coach, admitting the Storm?s success prior to the Bulldogs loss, had been long forgotten.
?Those couple of wins we had before playing the Bulldogs are that far away now it?s not funny, so this week is a real test for us,? King offered.
?We?re back to square one this week and we know that the Tigers can put points on you and even though they?ve lost their last few games, before that they were flying.
?Wests really aren?t far away from the mark, they always seem to be a big team up front and Tim Sheens will no doubt have them ready.?
After making a spectacular return to first grade with a hat-trick against the Warriors three weeks ago, King is still not quite satisfied with his game.
?The last couple of weeks I?ve struggled to get into the game a little bit, I haven?t had much ball but that?s something I?ve got to work on,? King added.
?It was dream to come back against the Warriors as I did and then the Penrith game was awesome but I didn?t feel like I was in that match. Then on the weekend against the Bulldogs I was just a passenger, so hopefully I can get a bit more involved this week.?
Despite Melbourne?s impressive overall 6-2 record against the Tigers, in two previous attempts the Storm has never beaten the joint venture at Leichhardt Oval.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY WESTS TIGERS, SATURDAY JULY 17, AT LEICHHARDT OVAL (7.30PM):
1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Geyer 3. Steven Bell 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Matt King 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Rodney Howe 9. Cameron Smith 10. Alex Chan 11. David Kidwell 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Kirk Reynoldson
IN: Dustin Cooper OUT: None (two to drop off bench)
For further information contact James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]