The Melbourne Storm may have won the game but the talking point is an injury sustained to St George Illawarra Dragons fullback, Josh Dugan.
The injury to Dugan is one that will have Dragons fans worried, as he formed an integral part of the side’s core and was set to play a big part in the Dragons season.
The game itself was rather scrappy and dour but the Dragons could not get the job done at Jubilee Oval, going down 12-4 to the Storm.
The play, ball-handling and discipline from both sides was sloppy but it was the Storm who somehow, made the most of the opportunity to eventually win.
Despite looking good in practice, Dragons coach Paul McGregor was disappointed with how his side performed in attack.
“I was disappointed with our attack. We had a lot of opportunities with good ball possession and it was no reflection with the way we practiced before the game thatâ€™s for sure,” McGregor said.
“I thought defensively though, if you hold Melbourne to 12 points or less you usually win the game. It’s a really good sign for our ‘D’, we held it together quite it well.
“It’s just disappointing we didn’t capitalise in attack because we had a completion rate of around 86 percent.”
It was not all smooth sailing for the Storm, though, with Dale Finucane, Jesse Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi all put on report for varying offences.
Whilst their attack will still need fine-tuning, the defensive effort by the Storm and ability to hold the Dragons out for long periods of time pleased coach Craig Bellamy.
“I was really happy with our effort in defence. It’s something we were really disappointed with last year so it was something we have put plenty of work into,” Bellamy said.
“Especially in the first half we were on our tryline a lot and the boys kept coming up. Having said that, we don’t want to be tackling like that each week.
“We made it hard for ourselves, even after halftime we kept turning over the ball and giving cheap penalties away.”
McGregor tried to be optimistic about Dugan’s injury but knows that the scans will reveal more. The club physiotherapist admitted that Dugan’s ankle did not look good.
“His ankle doesn’t look really good at the moment. It looks like he has had a high ankle sprain. He is in a boot and on crutches at the moment so he’ll get an MRI scan most likely on Tuesday,” Dan Lawson said.
“We’ll know the full extent of his injury. The first indicators though are not great.
“We will see him again at the boys’ recovery and we’ll get a scan sometime and see how he pulls up and we’ll get a better idea of how long he’ll be out for.”
Players of the Game:
3. Will Chambers
2. Eto Nabuli
1. Cam Smith
Melbourne Storm 12 (Young Tonumaipea, Will Chambers Try; Cameron Smith 2 Goals) defeated St George Illawarra Dragons 4 (Eto Nabuli Try) at Jubilee Oval. Crowd: 10,028.