Storm happy to be out of the firing line - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm happy to be out of the firing line

By Melissa Woods 26/07/2008 10:12:08 AM Comments (0)

With the furore over their tactics a country away, the Storm are focused on continuing their surge toward a hat-trick of NRL minor premierships with a win over the New Zealand Warriors in Auckland on Sunday.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy and his players were banned by the club from talking about the stunning outburst by Dragons coach Nathan Brown due to possible legal action.

Brown warned the NRL of a "bloodbath" unless it didn't crack down on Melbourne's use of illegal tactics.

Preparing for Sunday's NRL clash at Mt Smart Stadium, Storm forward Ryan Hoffman said the Storm were happy to be out of the firing line.

"We're just looking forward to taking on the Warriors because they're always interesting games," he said.

"I think it's because we have a very strong Kiwi contingent in our club so there always seems to be something special about Melbourne-Warriors games."

The two clubs have had a history of close battles, with the Storm winning their round one match 32-18 while the New Zealand side ended the Storm's unbeaten run at home in 2006 with a four-point victory.

The Warriors are just outside the top eight but are on a winning streak, claiming their last three games.

"They're definitely a team that matches up against us and we know we're in for a tough game when we play them," Hoffman said.

The Storm will be without star fullback Billy Slater, suspended for his role in a brawl during the Dragons match, with coach Bellamy still to make a final decision on his replacement.

Steve Turner is the most likely candidate, with 21-year-old Brett Anderson taking his place on the wing.

Bellamy has also considered playing five-eighth Greg Inglis in the No.1 jersey and rejigging his backline with centre Matt Geyer moving to the halves, Anthony Quinn to centre and Anderson the wing.

Storm assistant coach Stephen Kearney is the New Zealand coach, which gives many in the home side another reason to lift with the World Cup looming.

"They always look to find something extra but that's what we expect because it's a big year for rugby league and those guys will be trying to impress him (Kearney)," Hoffman said.

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary said he was happy the Warriors now had the chance to measure themselves against the benchmark side.

"I think it's a good time to play them," he said.

"We're certainly going a lot better than we were a month or so ago and I still think our best performance is in front of us, so it's not a bad spot to be."

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