Arrest rut right now, says Dugan

RUGBY LEAGUE

It looms as a mirror image of how they started their season last year, which is why Josh Dugan is desperate for St George Illawarra to avoid an early-season rut with their first win in Melbourne since 1999.

The Dragons have not tasted success in the southern capital since a week-one finals win in the joint venture's inaugural year, which coincidentally reached a dramatic climax with a grand-final loss to Melbourne.

And another loss to the Storm would have the early pace-setters on the brink of toppling out of the top eight after a promising start to the year.

The scenario looms as all too familiar for coach Steve Price, whose side strung together three straight wins on the back of the same number of losses to start their 2013 campaign.

A loss to Melbourne at AAMI Park next Monday night would again leave them at the 3-3 juncture.

"We definitely don't want to go into a little rut and lose three in a row," Dugan said.

"We'll be looking to turn it around, but it's definitely a tough road trip down to Melbourne.

"They're playing some decent footy at the moment. It's a tough competition this year and everyone has to be on their game on any given day. It's always tough to go down to Melbourne and win.

"We'll make use of the couple of days off and then we'll get ready to rip in at training next week."

Dugan's return from a knee injury has been the one bright spot for the Dragons after a heavy Heritage Round loss to the Rabbitohs.

Claiming he and marquee recruit Gareth Widdop had "gelled really well", Dugan said the precaution of delaying his comeback by a week would pay dividends in the long run.

"I pulled up 100 per cent," he said.

"I was pretty close to playing last week [against the Broncos] and I was always confident going into the [Rabbitohs] game it would be all right."

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