Slater says Knights' loss a wake-up call - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Slater says Knights' loss a wake-up call

By Melissa Woods 06/09/2008 09:42:49 AM Comments (0)

Brilliant Storm fullback Billy Slater says the Storm's loss to Newcastle may be a "blessing" heading into the NRL finals.

Melbourne were last round besieged by a Knights outfit desperate to farewell their departing skipper Danny Buderus with a win in front of their home crowd.

But Slater said the one-point loss was a wake-up call for the defending champions with the NRL finals starting next weekend and the minor premiership still up for grabs.

He said the performance by the players at this week's training sessions had been the best all year.

"It's probably a blessing in disguise, it's got us a lot more focused a week earlier," Slater said.

"If we just fell over the line to win the minor premiership last week I don't think we'd be as enthusiastic and switched on as we are.

"We had a look at what we could fix and change and the sessions have been really well-planned and structured and the enthusiasm has probably been the best I've seen all year.

"We got our backsides kicked a little bit and I'd expect a different performance against Souths."

Melbourne host the Rabbitohs at Olympic Park on Sunday night and expect the visitors to be up for a fight.

After only suffering seven losses all season, Slater said his side was desperate not to go into the finals on the back of two in succession.

"We want to take some momentum into the finals, we don't want to go into the finals on the back of two losses, that's for sure.

"It's hugely important to play well and do what we want to do in the game."

Slater expected similar emotions to the Buderus farewell with Melbourne's foundation player and favourite son Matt Geyer playing his final home and away match before his retirement at the end of the season.

He added there were plenty of other reasons for the team to want to play well as well.

"When you have a milestone and you're remembering someone's career in a game you're going to have added emotion so it's about using that emotion to your advantage and not thinking that Matt Geyer's farewell is going to get us over the line.

"It's about using that emotion to drive you.

"It's important that we start well and go out with the right attitude because the Bunnies don't care that it's Matty's last home game, they'll be looking forward to send their season off on a good note."

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