As they do every year, the Storm base their game around defence and resilience and let their offence flow from their defensive efforts.
They are conceding eight points per game and choked the life out of an exasperated Penrith on Saturday for a comprehensive 32-2 road win.
Cam Smith has been typically superb and Cam Munster's play has been off the charts.
The Bulldogs broke through for their first win last week against the Tigers and will have to be at least twice as good to spring a major upset on Sunday afternoon in Melbourne.
Storm: Winger Josh Addo-Carr (personal reasons) is out, replaced by 20-year-old rookie Ryan Papenhuyzen. That's the only change to the 17-man team that thrashed the Panthers last week. Albert Vete dropped off the extended bench on Saturday. Marion Seve has been promoted off the bench to start at centre with Will Chambers switching to the wing. Billy Walters was also omitted an hour before kick-off.
Bulldogs: A huge setback for the Doggies with Kieran Foran sidelined with an ankle injury, especially after his good game in last week’s win over the Tigers. Jack Cogger gets his chance as Foran's replacement, while Rhyse Martin has been named to start and Adam Elliott will come off the bench. Coach Dean Pay cut Raymond Faitala-Mariner and Danny Fualalo from the reserves on Saturday. Marcelo Montoya and Sauaso Sue were dropped an hour before kick-off.
A tough ask for Jack Cogger to make his first appearance of the season as Kieran Foran's replacement and prepare himself for a head to head duel with an in-form Cameron Munster. But it's up front where the Bulldogs face their biggest challenge. Dylan Napa needs to back up his excellent display against the Tigers with an even stronger effort, while the rest of the Doggies forwards have to be armed with an aggressive mindset from start to finish.
For the Storm to win
Craig Bellamy has his side playing at their usual high standard with every player clearly understanding his role. He'll be looking for an improved completion rate on last week's 73%, but it would seem only a rare bout of complacency can keep the Storm from rolling to a fourth straight win.
For the Bulldogs to win
Few observers expected them to win last week and the Dogs might have an even greater shock in store on Sunday. It will take a near-perfect performance but if they can absorb pressure on their line and disrupt Melbourne's offensive tempo with some big hits (Napa's specialty), the Doggies might be a chance.
Brett Kimmorley says
The Dogs were good last week. With a few new players they showed more spark and excitement. Nick Meaney looked really good. The test for the Dogs is holding that confidence and maintain that style of play against a team like Melbourne. They should see the Storm game as a challenge to see where they are at. For Melbourne, Cameron Munster is really growing his game. He has better control of his game and is growing his running game. Storm by 10
Storm Stat Attack
Melbourne lead the NRL in tackle breaks (120) and are equal-second in completions (78%) and points (76). Smith is third in scoring (24) and equal-fourth in tackles (129), while Jahrome Hughes is second in support play (64).
Bulldogs Stat Attack
The Doggies have the league's best completion rate (85%), are third in offloads (38) and lead in kick metres (1,953). They have made more tackles (1,072) than any team and missed 110. Only the Knights (118) have more missed tackles.
And another thing ...
Tough break for Kieran Foran, with news the former New Zealand international could be out for up to 12 weeks with an ankle injury. Foran seemed to slowly but surely coming into his own after a rough few years battling injuries and personal issues. The 28-year-old former Sea Eagle, Eel and Warrior showed he can still play a bit in last Sunday's 22-8 defeat of the Tigers, scoring a try and also notching a try assist, line break, line break assist and five tackle breaks.