Sharks rookie keeping Storm guessing - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Sharks rookie keeping Storm guessing

By Melissa Woods 23/09/2008 09:50:49 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater says the Sharks have been flying under the radar all NRL season, and none more so than new five-eighth Blake Green.

"Who?" was Slater's response when asked his thoughts on Green, who has come into the Cronulla line-up to replace the injured Brett Seymour for their preliminary final on Friday night.

To be fair to Slater, many Sharks fans have probably never heard of the rookie who has only played 12 NRL games but has been given one of the biggest jobs in the game in marking Storm superstar Greg Inglis.

"It makes it a bit more difficult that we don't know much about him," Slater said.

"I am sure Brett Kimmorley will take a bit more responsibility and do a bit more work than he usually does to try and help out the young fella.

"The Sharks are a great side, they have been going under the radar a bit all year and playing some good football at the right end of the year and they're going to take some beating."

Halfback Cooper Cronk said Sharks coach Ricky Stuart wouldn't have picked Green if he wasn't up to the challenge and they had no plans to target him.

"He's been endorsed by the Sharks, he hasn't been thrown in deep end, he's been part of their team for 12 months," Cronk said.

"Ricky, as a former halfback, knows good bad or indifferent and has picked a bloke more than capable of doing the job.

"We won't be going out of our way to target him, there's too many other things going on to target one individual, we need to worry about the structure and things we can do, not getting on top of someone else."

Both players said the Storm were more focused on their own preparation than their opponents, particularly with the suspension cloud hanging over skipper Cameron Smith.

The Test hooker may miss the Sydney Football Stadium clash, and the grand final should his side advance, if he's found guilty of a grapple tackle charge at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night.

Melbourne players spoke of their side's player depth, although some did admit it would be a massive blow to lose their leader.

"There's no doubt he's an integral part of what we do, he's the captain of the club, he's one of the best players going around in this competition.

"It's a big loss but we've got the depth to cover him," said Cronk.

With the line-up undecided until the outcome of Smith's case Melbourne second-rower Michael Crocker let slip that veteran Matt Geyer was the likely replacement.

"Definitely to lose a player of Cameron's calibre is going to hurt the team but we're confident ... I guess Matty Geyer will probably slip in there and he's proven over years he can fill any position and do a good job," Crocker said.

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