STORM WARN­ING

Sunday Herald Sun - - Sport -

Mel­bourne Storm play­ers re­turn to train­ing to­day after a two-day freshen up to pre­pare for their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal clash against the Bron­cos. “We’ve had a cou­ple of days off,” Storm lock Dale Fin­u­cane said. “It’s a freshen up week I guess. We had a lit­tle bit of work and train­ing ear­lier on and now we will ap­proach it as a nor­mal seven-day turn­around prepa­ra­tion for us. The Storm are no stranger to play­ing in the penul­ti­mate week­end — this is their third con­sec­u­tive pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal and ninth in the past 12 years. Our NRL ex­pert Gil­bert Gar­diner runs a rule over what to ex­pect.

HEAD TO HEAD

R3, Storm d Bron­cos 14-12, AAMI Park R17, Storm d Bron­cos 42-12, Sun­corp Sta­dium DAR­IUS Boyd kept the Bron­cos in the hunt in Round 3 be­fore Josh Addo-Carr landed the knock­out punch in the 76th minute, scor­ing his first try in Storm colours. The Bron­cos weren’t given a sniff in the re­turn bout at Bris­bane’s Sun­corp Sta­dium with Boyd (thumb) and An­thony Mil­ford (shoul­der) out of the side.

KEY MATCH UPS

Cameron Mun­ster (Storm) v An­thony Mil­ford (Bron­cos) TWO in­stinct driven five-eighths, who thrive on the big stage. What more could we ask for? A huge op­por­tu­nity for both play­ers to stamp their cre­den­tials as gen­er­a­tion next piv­ots in the NRL. Mil­ford is in hot form after daz­zling Pen­rith with cre­ative car­ries and of­floads, while Mun­ster will be keen to re­pay Storm after be­ing sin-binned last week. Cameron Smith (Storm) v Ben Hunt (Bron­cos) TALL or­der for Hunt as he takes on the rag­ing Dally M favourite at home, but the de­part­ing Bron­cos vet­eran showed enough against Pen­rith to sug­gest that he isn’t ready to ride off into the sun­set just yet. Deft passes and prob­ing runs out of dummy half sparked the Bron­cos, but Smith is in a league of his own.

STORM’S HOME TURF

Bron­cos @ AAMI Park: 8 games, 3 wins STORM boasts an im­pos­ing headto-head record, hav­ing won 12 of the past 14 games be­tween the sides, in­clud­ing three of the past five at AAMI Park.

TEAM HEALTH

Storm ALL sys­tems go for Storm. The mi­nor pre­mier couldn’t be in any bet­ter shape with play­ers fit and fir­ing go­ing into week 3 of the fi­nals. Craig Bel­lamy is likely to name an un­changed line-up. Billy Slater has re­cov­ered fully from a knock to the knee. Bron­cos DAR­IUS Boyd (ham­string) will be the news fo­cus at Red Hill this week as the full­back bids to be fit for Fri­day night. Boyd trained dur­ing the week but was ruled out for the Panthers game. Winger Corey Oates was knocked out in the first half and must suc­cess­fully com­plete all con­cus­sion pro­to­cols to be se­lected to play.

TAB ODDS

$1.30 Storm $3.50 Bron­cos

FRI­DAY FORE­CAST

Partly cloudy. Max: 24C Min: 12C

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