NRL Opta facts: Runaway leaders Melbourne prepare to tackle Dragons

Melbourne Storm head coach Craig Bellamy said it felt "surreal" to see his side six points clear at the top of the Premiership as they prepare to tackle St George Illawarra Dragons.

That is their lofty status as they head to Wollongong for Thursday's match, aiming for a 13th win in 15 NRL games this season.

Sydney Roosters have a formidable record against Wests Tigers and will look to record another victory in the latest match in their rivalry on Friday. Latrell Mitchell has scored five tries and provided four assists in his last five NRL games against the Tigers, including three tries and two assists in his last appearance in the series.

New Zealand Warriors are up against it as they travel to take on Newcastle Knights, who have won their last three home games, but in David Fusitu'a they have a player who knows the way to the try-line against Saturday's opposition.

Brisbane are enduring a tough season in the lower ranks of the table, but they have a special record against the Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks and will aim for a sixth straight win against their hosts on Sunday.

Thursday

St George Illawarra Dragons (6-8) v Melbourne Storm (12-2)

- Melbourne have won nine of their last 13 NRL games against the Dragons. However, they have won only one of the four meetings between these teams at WIN Stadium in that time.

- Only the South Sydney Rabbitohs (6.1) have made more line breaks per game than the Dragons (6) and Melbourne (5.9) in NRL this year.

Friday

Wests Tigers (7-7) v Sydney Roosters (9-5)

- Third-placed Sydney Roosters have won 16 of their last 18 NRL games against the Tigers, conceding an average of just 14 points per game in that time.

- Wests Tigers have conceded just two tries within the opening 10 minutes of games in NRL so far this season, the joint-fewest of any team in the competition.

Saturday

Newcastle Knights (8-6) v New Zealand Warriors (5-9)

- Newcastle have won three of their last four NRL games against New Zealand Warriors at McDonald Jones Stadium. They were badly beaten, 50-14, in their only defeat in that span.

- The Knights have won seven of their last eight NRL games, losing only to Melbourne Storm in that span.

- Warriors back David Fusitu’a has scored 11 tries in his last five NRL games against the Knights, including a four-try performance against them three years ago.

Sunday

Cronulla-Sutherland Sharks (7-7) v Brisbane Broncos (5-9)

- Brisbane have won their last five NRL games on the bounce against the Sharks, including a 29-6 win in their most recent encounter – their biggest win against them since 2011.

- The Sharks have scored the most (21) and conceded the second fewest (8) tries down their right-hand side of any team this NRL campaign.

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