Storm rep stars set to take on Roosters - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm rep stars set to take on Roosters

By David Beniuk and Steve Jancetic 10/05/2009 02:30:16 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne are confident all eight of their representative stars, including fullback Billy Slater, will back up in Monday night's NRL clash with the Sydney Roosters at Bluetongue Stadium.

Australian custodian Slater, who overcame an ankle injury to play in Friday night's Test victory over New Zealand, suffered a corked calf but Storm officials say they would be surprised if he doesn't play in Gosford.

Greg Inglis, Jeff Lima, Cameron Smith, Adam Blair, Ryan Hoffman, Brett White and Sika Manu, who played his first game of the season for the Kiwis, have all been cleared to play.

Manu will be rushed into the Storm's 17 with one of the bench players named midweek to drop out of the match.

The Roosters have Kiwi winger Sam Perrett and City forward Shane Shackleton backing up, along with 18th man Mark O'Meley.

"It's pretty tough - you ask most players and they would prefer to play the day after the game, but we do a lot of recovery and I'm sure the Storm staff will have us ready to go for Monday," Smith said.

The increasingly desperate Roosters have only won one of their last four games, last week's 19-12 victory over cellar dwellers Cronulla.

But Smith said his side's 22-8 win over premiers Manly in the grand final rematch would be good preparation for Brad Fittler's men.

"We came up against a desperate team last week in Manly and we were able to hold them off," he said.

The skipper warned the Storm had shown signs of returning to their best as ex-Parramatta half Brett Finch slots into their attack.

"There was definitely some good signs last week, I think we were heading the direction where we were getting back to our best - that was our best game by far," he said.

"It's only been the attack that's let us down a little bit this year. Our defence has been spot on ... we just haven't scored the points to back the defence up.

"Last week was good, 22 points against a good defensive side as well.

"Finchy was great and I think we're heading in the right direction."

Smith said the blow-up between clubmates Slater and Blair, which he helped defuse at Suncorp Stadium on Friday, had been left on the field.

"Big Blairy gets a bit fired up, he plays with is heart on his sleeve no matter who he's playing for, the Storm or New Zealand," Smith said.

"I had to go down there and calm him down a bit and get on with the footy."

Several Roosters stars will have a point to prove in front of Melbourne and NSW coach Craig Bellamy.

Willie Mason and Braith Anasta were left out of Bellamy's preliminary 40-man Blues squad, while incumbent NSW halfback Mitchell Pearce was left out of the City-Country "trial".

Melbourne have won five of the last seven clashes between the sides.

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