Dragons wary of Billy Slater

Billy Slater, right, will be one of the Melbourne Storm's danger men when they play the Dragons on Monday night. Picture: GETTY IMAGES
Billy Slater, right, will be one of the Melbourne Storm's danger men when they play the Dragons on Monday night. Picture: GETTY IMAGES

He may have helped plot their State of Origin demise but Dragons coach Paul McGregor says there is no special secret to stopping Queensland and Melbourne superstars Cameron Smith and Billy Slater.

The Dragons' Monday night match with the Storm will be the third time in just over a month that McGregor will be seeking to nullify the pair after assisting NSW coach Laurie Daley in the Blues' drought-breaking series victory.

He'll have his club cap back on for the match and his fate will again rest on how well the Dragons handle the superstar duo as they look to stay within reach of the top eight.

The Maroons' greats showed no ill-effects of losing their first series in nine years last week, with Slater scoring two tries and laying on several others in the Storm's 46-20 victory over Parramatta.

They'll enter Monday night's match in ominous form and McGregor admits he'll happily see the back of them following the clash at WIN Stadium.

"Everyone knows what everyone does these days because of the amount of video you watch," McGregor said.

"Your marker players have got to be good on Smith and your indicator is Slater and all those things that everyone knows when you coach against them.

"They're quality players and the reason they are the players they are is because they do it regularly. They don't change the way they play too much but they're perfect at it.

"That's the challenge to the playing group. You know what's coming but it's about whether you can defend it."

Though there is no magic formula to put the clamp on Smith or Slater, McGregor said being a part of the Blues camp had provided new insights that he'd seek to use in Monday night's match.

"It's obviously a good insight, what other people think about them and the way they do things to back what you think they can play like," McGregor said.

"It's always good to get other feedback from other coaches and other players within that structure because State of Origin players are the best players around.

"To be around that group, to know what they feel about those players ... it backs your instincts."

McGregor also feels his side can take confidence out of their performance against the Storm in round six, despite being robbed of a win by a refereeing blunder.

"When you break the game up, we did a lot of good things in that game and you've got to put that energy into this game."

Meanwhile, star lock Trent Merrin will take his place in the St George Illawarra side after shadow player Jack Stockwell turned out for the Illawarra Cutters on Saturday.


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