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Dragons continue Storm's dismal run

St George Illawarra handed Melbourne its fifth loss on the trot with a 26-18 triumph on Friday night, as winger Brett Morris maintained his incredible record at Wollongong with a hat-trick.
Dragons continue Storm's dismal run
by NRL

St George Illawarra handed Melbourne its fifth loss on the trot with a 26-18 triumph on Friday night, as winger Brett Morris maintained his incredible record at Wollongong with a hat-trick.

The win moves the Dragons into equal eighth spot on the ladder, keeping their finals destiny well and truly in their own hands in front of an impressed crowd of 11,477.

"We've struggled in the last couple of weeks to score points and put in a good effort and that was probably our best game of the season," Dragons back rower Ben Creagh told Grandstand.

"We are desperate to win and we want to get in that top eight and play finals footy and this is a good start tonight.

"But the thing about us all season is just us backing it up and next week we've got to get on a bit of a roll and keep winning."

But alarm bells will certainly be ringing at the Storm, who have suffered their first five-match losing streak since 2002 - the year before Craig Bellamy took control at the club.

The Storm welcomed back full-back Billy Slater from a knee injury but even that was not enough to stop their slide from premiership favouritism.

"The effort was there but I don't know what's going wrong at the moment," Slater told Grandstand.

"It's pretty hard to put your finger on it but the boys are certainly trying, but a few execution [problems] and a bit of frustration getting into our game.

"There are patches that we played really well, that back end of the first half was really good and patches in that second half, but it's just not good enough putting patches are together."

Less than a week after getting knocked senseless in the brutal shoulder charge that earned South Sydney's Greg Inglis a three-match suspension, Dean Young was fantastic for the home side, while Nathan Fien was tremendous filling in for the injured five-eighth Jamie Soward (back spasms).

Slater was less impressive, throwing an intercept that resulted in a 95-metre run for Morris's first try, which opened the scoring in the seventh minute.

His second was a similar effort, a 90-metre intercept in which he benefited from a mistake from one of Melbourne's other superstars - this time half-back Cooper Cronk.

Slater said his recovery continues but it was good to get some matchday experience.

"The knee's all right, it got through probably better than I thought I would," he said.

"It's not 100 per cent yet but it's getting there and it's good to have a game on it today.

"It's just that top speed and that power coming off it, but that'll come in time.

"It's only been six weeks so a bit more training and a bit more games ... but I'm glad I got through that unscathed."

The Dragons led 18-0, following tries to Morris, Beau Scott and Trent Merrin, with five minutes left before half-time when the Storm hit back in emphatic fashion.

Back-rower Kevin Proctor and centre Will Chambers punched holes in the Dragons' left-hand side defence to reduce the half-time lead to just six.

But Morris erupted to start the second half, scoring the second and third of his tries for the night to take his tally to 26 in 23 games at the Wollongong venue.

It was the end of their point-scoring for the night, but was still their biggest offensive output since their Anzac Day victory over the Sydney Roosters in round eight.

The Dragons managed to cling on for the final half an hour, producing some solid defensive displays the Storm were only able to breach their tryline through a scrappy try to lock Ryan Hinchcliffe.

Further souring the night for the Storm, Proctor was placed on report for a lifting tackle while Cronk could come under the microscope for a chicken wing tackle on Creagh in the 47th minute.

St George Illawarra: 26 (B Morris 3, B Scott, T Merrin tries; C Stanley 3/5 conversions)

Melbourne: 18 (K Proctor, W Chambers, R Hinchcliffe tries; C Smith 3/3 conversions)

Source: ABC Sport

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