Storm hopes for win to cap 10th birthday - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm hopes for win to cap 10th birthday

By Melissa Woods 23/06/2007 03:24:58 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne is counting on a win against St George Illawarra on Sunday to put the icing on the birthday cake after the club celebrated 10 years in the NRL this week.

The Storm named its team of the decade at a gala dinner attended by 700 people, including players past and present.

Veteran winger Matt Geyer, who was included in a line-up captained by Glenn Lazarus, said he hoped the celebrations would prove a motivation rather than a distraction against the under-strength Dragons.

With fellow front-runners Manly losing for the first time at home this season, 27-8 to the Bulldogs, Melbourne have a chance to break clear on the NRL table with a win at Olympic Park.

Having crossed for more than double the Dragons' try tally this season and coming off a 58-12 thrashing of North Queensland, the Storm are massive favourites.

"All the ingredients are there for guys to lose their focus with all our families and the old boys back here, but hopefully we can use all that as motivation," Geyer said.

"We don't want to let it be an excuse, to say we were distracted, so hopefully we can be professional enough for it not to get in the way."

St George Illawarra suffered another blow with utility Dean Young ruled out for the remainder of the season, while promising forward Ashton Sims announced he had signed with Brisbane for the next three years.

Despite their setbacks, Geyer felt the Dragons were still a dangerous side, proven by their unexpected win over Brisbane in round 11.

"They've got a lot of their top players out but on the other hand they've got a few back, and they've got fresh legs," he said.

"Simon Woolford's back and he's starting to play a great role in the team and Jason Ryles, Ben Creagh - they've got some really good leaders in the pack.

"We're not under any illusions that we're just going to invite everyone down and have a really big party and go out and win the game and the party will revolve around that."

James Aubusson has been named as the replacement for in-form halfback Cooper Cronk, who will miss the next three weeks with an ankle injury.

Geyer said he expected talented Aubusson, who this week announced he will play with the Sydney Roosters next season, to rise to the challenge.

"He's a great competitor and in the matches he's filled in for Cameron Smith over Origin he's been players' player," Geyer said.

"He's a winner and he loves getting into battle so I don't think we can go too wrong with him."

Eight current players were named in the Melbourne team of the decade line-up.

Lazarus, the club's first big-name signing, was named captain, while current coach Craig Bellamy was named as coach.

Melbourne team of the decade: Billy Slater, Matt Geyer, Matt King, Greg Inglis, Marcus Bai, Scott Hill, Brett Kimmorley, Glenn Lazarus (capt), Cameron Smith, Robbie Kearns, Ryan Hoffman, Stephen Kearney, Tawera Nikau. Interchange: Rodney Howe, Dallas Johnson, David Kidwell, Cooper Cronk. Coach: Craig Bellamy.

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