If the Wests Tigers want to start rebuilding their castle, they need to start by making Leichhardt Oval a fortress again.
It’s as plain as day that the Tigers are struggling – five wins from 13 games has them alone at the bottom of the NRL ladder on 14 points.
They’ve lost five on the trot with three of their last four defeats coming by 20 points of more and they have conceded an average of six tries per game since round 15.
For years Leichhardt was a graveyard for the Storm.
The joint venture scored wins over Melbourne nine times in their history with seven of those coming at Leichhardt.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy conceded as much.
“We’ve always found it fairly tough to play at Leichhardt, it is for most teams, but we’ve had a pretty hectic couple of weeks … so just getting the boys recovered has been our main emphasis,” he said.
But numbers provided by Fox Sports Stats show that in recent years Leichhardt has lost its aura.
The Storm have won their last two there while the Tigers have won just two from eight games at Leichhardt over the last two seasons.
Against Melbourne, they will be out to avoid losing four straight at the venue for the first time.
“We haven’t done well enough here,” Tigers coach Jason Taylor said.
“It’s pretty clear we haven’t played well enough in the three games that we’ve played here (this season).
“We’ve had some really good patches but across the board nowhere near the standard that we’re after.
“We’d like to right that wrong if we can tomorrow night.”
STATS THAT MATTER
* Melbourne have dominated this matchup winning 16 of 25 meetings against the Tigers.
* Melbourne have rediscovered their defensive resolve, holding their opposition to just 14 points in their last two outings.
* Melbourne’s 79.6 percent average completion rate is the best of any team this year.
* Since 2005, the Tigers have won 51 per cent of matches with Robbie Farah compared to just 26.2 per cent without their skipper.