Following a gritty win over the winless Knights, St George Illawarra travel to Melbourne this weekend in pursuit of their 6th win on the trot. In the early years of Melbourne?s existence, St George, Illawarra and St George Illawarra had a very good record in Melbourne. However, since the 1999 semi-finals, Saints haven?t been able to record a win in Melbourne.
While most Saints fans will be holding their breath every time Ryles, Bailey, Barrett, Cooper and Gasnier get involved in tomorrow night?s State Of Origin and their subsequent recovery, Melbourne have their own concerns with Billy Slater, Matt King and Cameron Smith involved as well as Cooper Cronk being in trouble at the judiciary. It is imperative that Saints? stars play in Melbourne to maintain the momentum that has built in the last 5 weeks.
The last encounter between these two sides resulted in a resounding victory to Melbourne at Wollongong in Round 2. Melbourne were white hot that night while Saints were awful. Melbourne have lost their last 3 at home while Saints have won their last 3 games away and should all players be on deck from both sides this promises to be a mighty game.
GETTING THERE AND AWAY: From Sydney, there are a few options. You can drive, fly or hitchhike. Whilst the 3rd option isn?t recommended, if you haven?t booked your flights yet, here are a couple of options:
www.qantas.com.au or www.virginblue.com.au. For those driving, www.whereis.com is recommended. It is about a 10-11 hour drive from Sydney with breaks. Just follow the Hume Highway and you?ll get to Melbourne is the simplest way to look at it.
Accomodation: If you haven?t booked accommodation yet and are looking for a place to stay, Wotif is a very good website with a lot of different priced options: http://www.wotif.com/Search.jsp?refine=simpleSearch&country=1?ion=1758 Personally, I would recommend the Hotel Club website: http://www.hotelclub.com/SearchResults.asp?inDay=27&inMonth=5&inYear=2005&SetInDay=%28Fri%29&outDay=29&outMonth=5&outYear=2005&SetOutDay=%28Sun%29&searchBy=Criteria&country=Australia&star5=ON&star4=ON&star3=ON&city=Melbourne&hotelName=&suburb=
OLYMPIC PARK INFORMATION: The ground is located in the MCG precinct on Swan Street. From the city, you catch a tram to the MCG and follow the signs to the ground. Gates open on Sunday at 12.30pm and there is more than likely a local curtain raiser before the main game, which starts at 2.30pm.
TICKET PRICES & WHERE ARE THE ARMY SITTING: The Army will be sitting in Bay 36 (tickets have been purchased thus far in Rows L, M and N) which is on the Eastern side of the ground on the Northern (MCG End) 30 metre line. The Melbourne based Dragons supporters will be joining those from Sydney travelling down so a Saints presence can be seen and heard. So wear your red and white proud, get out there with your flags and banner and fire our lads up. Tickets price in this area are $25 for adults, $15 for students and pensioners and $10 for Juniors (6-15 year olds) Tickets can be purchased at Ticketek on (02) 9266 4800 or online at: http://premier.ticketek.com.au/shows/show.aspx?sh=STORM05&searchId=b485d609-d700-44e1-8331-6c6d1a996145 BEST PUBS: Like most major cities, there is a wealth of good pubs. Crown is the epicentre of the city but if you look hard enough, you will find some other good pubs. As for game day, the Melbourne Based Dragons Supporters will be meeting before the game at 12pm at the Depot Hotel, 60 Swan St, Richmond, about 500 metres from the ground.
WHAT TO DO IN MELBOURNE:
Red V Function ? the Red V function for Melbourne will be held at the Holiday Inn on Flinders Lane on Saturday, May 28 at 6pm. For full information, see the Dragons website: http://www.dragons.com.au/news/static/article_2110.asp
Sport - For AFL fans, there are two games in Melbourne on Saturday. Hawthorn and Collingwood play at the MCG on Saturday afternoon at 2.10pm whilst St.Kilda play the Sydney at Telstra Dome on Saturday night at 7.10pm. For fans of a flutter, the races are on at Flemington on Saturday afternoon: http://www.vrc.net.au/cpa/htm/htm_flemington_home.asp
Other - There are plenty of shopping centres and things to do in and around Melbourne as well. The City of Melbourne website (http://www.melbourne.vic.gov.au/info.cfm?top=23&pg=966 ) and Go Melbourne website (http://www.gomelbournecity.com/) have a fair amount of information on them.
Thanks to Steven Kehlet for compiling the above information