Craig Bellamy is leaving no stone unturned.
Craig Bellamy is leaving no stone unturned.

Storm go green to ready for Raiders

MELBOURNE coach Craig Bellamy goes to great lengths to prepare his team and Tuesday was no exception as the Storm's fringe players wore bright green Raiders' tops in match simulation.

Fans driving past Gosch's Paddock would be forgiven for rubbernecking as Storm starters took on a faux green machine sporting mock jerseys - current Raiders sponsors' logos included for added authenticity - ahead of Saturday's qualifying final at AAMI Park.

Storm named superstars Cameron Munster and Josh Addo-Carr, both rested last week, along with spark plug Brandon Smith in the extended 21-man squad.

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The Raiders stunned Storm in Melbourne last month, rattling off 22 unanswered points to win after trailing 18-0 in Melbourne.

But Storm vice-captain Dale Finucane said past results - against any team - mattered not on Saturday.

"It's a new competition and what's been done in the last 25 weeks really means nothing now," Finucane said.

Dale Finucane said past results count for nought. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
Dale Finucane said past results count for nought. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour

"You need to really have that mentality, it's do or die, every team will have that mentality leading into finals again.

"You don't want to leave anything out on the field."

But Storm remains on high alert of the Raiders' strip club, and in particular Josh Hodgson.

Crafty hooker Hodgson could be on a pole full time as the NRL king of the one-on-one strip.

Finucane said the entire Raiders pack, which includes Queensland Origin prop Josh Papalii, Dunamis Lui, John Bateman and Elliott Whitehead, must be stopped on Saturday.

"I rate them (Raiders forwards) right up there with the best," Finucane said.

"We need to be mindful of the guys that are looking to do that (one-on-one strip) and that's obviously (being careful) in the play the ball."

Jesse Bromwich typifies Storm‘s finals experience. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour
Jesse Bromwich typifies Storm‘s finals experience. Photo: AAP Image/Scott Barbour

Co-vice-captains Finucane and Jesse Bromwich have played 19 finals apiece to sit equal second behind captain Cameron Smith's 36 appearances.

Finucane said Bellamy's ability to simplify players' roles should safeguard the club against any potential stage fright.

"They don't have to go out and pretend to be someone else because of the occasion," Finucane said, drawing comparisons to the 2017 premiership run when Storm unleashed four finals debutants.

Smith, who needs one more goal to become the first hooker and the third forward in history to kick 100 goals in a season, has played more finals than 10 Storm teammates combined.

News Corp Australia


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