Storm rest be­fore hard work be­gins

The Sunday Mail (Queensland) - - SPORT - MICHAEL CARAYANNIS

THEY’RE al­ready rated as one of the great­est NRL teams ever and the hottest premier­ship hope in mem­ory, but don’t think the Mel­bourne Storm are tak­ing short­cuts on the road to glory.

Storm play­ers have been given more time to freshen up com­pared to last sea­son in prepa­ra­tion for their pre­lim­i­nary fi­nal against the Bron­cos.

While 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 – they are still tin­ker­ing with their prepa­ra­tion.

Last year they had an op­posed ses­sion to mimic a match dur­ing their week off. This year, coach Craig Bel­lamy has given his charges two days off be­fore they re­turn to train­ing to­day.

“It’s a freshen-up week,” Storm lock Dale Fin­u­cane said.

“We will ap­proach it as a nor­mal seven-day turn­around prepa­ra­tion for us.

“(The coach­ing staff) have spread the workload. Last year we might’ve had a few days off in a row be­fore do­ing a heav­ier ses­sion. It’s a bit sim­i­lar but we’ve spread the workload over a few days.”

The Storm won the cor­re­spond­ing game last year, beat­ing the Raiders by two be­fore los­ing to Cronulla in the premier­ship de­cider.

Fin­u­cane, who has been part of three premier­ship losses, stressed his side needed to stay fo­cused.

“I don’t like to think about it too much,” he said of fi­nally lift­ing the premier­ship tro­phy.

“One poor per­for­mance is all it takes.”

FO­CUSED: Dale Fin­u­cane.

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