Beating the Storm means more to Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Beating the Storm means more to Dragons

By Steve Jancetic 29/03/2010 06:48:22 PM Comments (0)

Without a win in Melbourne since 1999, St George Illawarra admit beating the reigning premiers means more than victories against "normal" NRL rivals.

Speaking ahead of the Good Friday blockbuster between the two unbeaten sides at Etihad Stadium, Dragons winger Jason Nightingale revealed the magnitude of respect his side had for the Storm.

As he recalled the enthusiastic celebrations which followed last year's hard-fought 26-12 win over Melbourne at Kogarah, Nightingale said beating the Storm held special meaning.

"That's just a credit to the team that Melbourne are - to beat them, it's not like beating any other normal team - it's the Storm," Nightingale said.

"They've been the benchmark for a long time and you're going to be happy after knocking off one of the best teams in the comp."

Given the fact the Dragons have lost their last nine games in the Victorian capital - which includes fixtures at Olympic Park, Etihad Stadium and the 70-10 flogging at the MCG - it would be safe the assume celebrations would again be over the top should they finally overcome the hoodoo.

Their last win there was in a qualifying final at Olympic Park in 1999, just three weeks before the Storm turned the tables to secure their inaugural premiership with a dramatic grand final win.

With fellow unbeaten side Gold Coast now facing the next six weeks without inspirational skipper Scott Prince, the winner of the Storm-Dragons game will assume premiership favouritism.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy did his best last weekend to anoint the Dragons as the team to beat, though Nightingale was having none of it.

"I wonder why he said that? They're definitely the benchmark - we've only played three games well and it takes a lot more than that to succeed," Nightingale said.

"Four grand finals in a row speaks for itself pretty much. They've been that way for a long time and I don't think it's going to change this year."

Nightingale broke his try-scoring duck with a double in last week's win over North Queensland, though he played down talk of challenging fellow winger Brett Morris, who already had five four-pointers, for most tries this year.

The double strike was significant though as it put to rest claims the Dragons were something of a one-trick pony, with most of their attacking raids coming down the left edge last season and again over the opening two rounds of 2010.

Having replaced Wendell Sailor on the right flank, Nightingale admitted his combination with five-eighth Jamie Soward was still a work in progress after being used as a utility player last year.

"There's still a few things I want to work on - getting my decision-making right and getting used to being back in a specialist wing position," Nightingale said.

"It's definitely more comfortable than playing a different position every week."

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