Crocker has Storm on high alert - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Crocker has Storm on high alert

By Justin Chadwick 12/06/2009 05:30:05 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne are raging favourites to account for South Sydney in Perth on Saturday night, so why are the Storm running scared?

The answer: 100kg Rabbitohs enforcer Michael Crocker.

Crocker, a premiership player with Melbourne in 2007, linked up with South Sydney last month and is eager to impress against his former club.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith admitted the Storm would be on high alert come match day to avoid the hard-hitting, 28-year-old enforcer.

"I'm going to try to stay away from him, I might get hurt if I come across him," Smith said, but only half jokingly.

"He'll be fired up and he's the sort of player that drags a lot of players with him.

"It's a bit of a funny situation for us because five weeks ago he was training with us at Melbourne.

"He's a great mate of ours but on Saturday night he's going to be wearing green and red and will be treated like an opposition player in any other week."

Storm fullback Billy Slater said nullifying Crocker was a priority.

"Hopefully he will take it easy on a few of us," Slater said.

"He wears his heart on his sleeve. We are going to have to shut him down pretty well.

"He's a great competitor and will be trying his heart out."

Meanwhile, South Sydney coach Jason Taylor admitted his side's frail defence needed to improve for the club to break out of their form slump.

The Rabbitohs have won just one of their past five matches, conceding a whopping 141 points in that period.

"Everything you do in rugby league starts with your defence," Taylor said.

"If that's not good enough you are going to struggle and that was the case for us against the Cowboys on Saturday night (losing 46-12).

"When you go through a tough patch it can hang around for a fair few weeks or you can nip it in the bud really quickly.

"It comes down to the attitude of the players."

The Storm have won their past seven encounters against South Sydney but Taylor dismissed suggestions that would give Melbourne the mental edge.

"This is just one game. Whatever has gone on beforehand isn't going to make any difference in this game," he said.

Smith said he expected South Sydney to come out all guns blazing after a string of sub-par performances.

"We know the Bunnies would be disappointed with their performance over the past few weeks but they're a very good side and have some quality players in their team," he said.

"We know they're going to be ready to go and it's going to be a tough match."

South Sydney hope a sell-out crowd of 18,000 will attend the match at Members Equity Stadium.

Should that figure, or one close to it, be achieved, the Rabbitohs will push ahead with another home game in Perth next season.

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