Creagh braced for Dragons' biggest test - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Creagh braced for Dragons' biggest test

By Ian McCullough 30/07/2009 07:22:34 PM Comments (0)

St George Illawarra second-rower Ben Creagh says Friday's NRL clash with Melbourne at Kogarah will be a test of how good the ladder-leading Dragons really are.

Wayne Bennett's side is four points clear at the top of the table and Creagh admits the Storm, who are looking to reach a fourth successive grand final this year, are still the team to beat.

"It's our biggest test of the season and will allow us to see where we are," Creagh said.

"We have only beaten them when they have been hit by Origin call-ups and they are still the benchmark."

Creagh also played down the Storm's recent poor run of form which saw them labour to victory over an injury-hit Cronulla side last week and lose to lowly Parramatta in round 19.

"I wouldn't say they have been ordinary, they have been hit with Origin call-ups and it is hard for any team to cope without their hooker and injuries to players like (Ryan) Hoffman, (Dallas) Johnson and (Cameron) Smith," Creagh said.

"The fact they are still in the top four and have not been at their best says it all."

The NSW forward also admitted the team had been surprised at how well they had performed in Wayne Bennett's first season as coach.

"Everyone has enjoyed change under Wayne, I don't think any of us knew what it was going to be like," he said.

"I don't think anyone here thought we would be sitting top of the ladder with five games to go, it is a pleasant surprise."

Melbourne five-eighth Brett Finch said he was expecting a dour battle between the two best defensive teams in the NRL.

"It's a big challenge, they're going along extremely well," Finch said.

"We're the two best defensive teams in the competition so it should be a real tough game.

"They're expecting a sell-out crowd at Kogarah so it should be a really great atmosphere."

Finch, who signed a new deal to stay at the Storm for another year on Thursday, said there was still a desire for success in the camp despite three fantastic seasons.

"There are a lot of guys in the team who are new and are just as keen to win a grand final," he said.

"I know the guys who have won a grand final are just as keen.

"If you ask those boys, you never get sick of winning them and we've got a good chance to do that this year."

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