Storm will miss Smith, says Buderus - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm will miss Smith, says Buderus

By David Beniuk 04/10/2008 07:26:31 PM Comments (0)

Cameron Smith's greatest rival, Danny Buderus, believes Melbourne will struggle to overcome the loss of their captain in Sunday's NRL grand final against Manly.

The two State of Origin captains have fought plenty of battles, culminating in Smith usurping Buderus in the Australian team in 2006, and the NSW skipper probably knows better than anyone the hole his Queensland opposite number will leave.

"It will be interesting to see how they go (Sunday) but this might be the game where they probably will miss him a bit," Buderus told AAP.

With Smith rubbed out for two games for a grapple tackle, the Storm threw journeyman Russell Aitken into the fray last week and appeared to suffer no ill effects in a 28-0 drubbing of Cronulla.

"He did a great job on short notice so it's a credit to their club," Buderus said of former half Aitken.

But the Sharks' poor performance and Melbourne's odd mix-up at dummy half have been highlighted this week as the Storm prepare for a much bigger test against red-hot Manly.

Buderus believes Smith's absence has meant the Storm have needed to adapt their style quickly from the one that dominated the NRL all season to one based around halfback Cooper Cronk.

"It was really interesting watching that last week, the different style that they sort of played," Buderus said.

"I guess Cooper came into it and they played a different style.

"The style that they play is all off the ruck so obviously last week they changed it up a bit and got a bit off Cooper and got it wide a bit."

Smith has remained an integral part of the Storm's build-up, tutoring Aitken and impersonating Manly dangermen for defensive drills.

"Cameron's just done some jobs against us at training, just played the role of a couple of Manly players to help us defend against it," Storm coach Craig Bellamy said.

"Just having him around, obviously he's disappointed but he got over that last week and he's all for the team and helping out and whatever we need (him) to do he's willing to do it."

Leeds-bound Buderus said picking a winner was tough, but he does have an inkling Manly will avenge their loss in last year's decider and win their first premiership since 1996 at ANZ Stadium.

"I'm just really excited about watching it I guess," he said.

"They've been the two best teams all year but a little of me's saying Manly just, only because of what's gone on last year and the benefit of the experience."

Melbourne have confirmed Brett Anderson and Aiden Toman will drop out of their 19-man squad for Sunday, leaving Scott Anderson, Adam Blair, Sika Manu and Antonio Kaufusi as their bench.

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