Storm prepare to deny Knights - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm prepare to deny Knights

By Melissa Woods 03/07/2009 07:29:21 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne backrower Ryan Hoffman says his side is playing for pride as well as a top four NRL position when they host a resurgent Newcastle at Olympic Park on Saturday night.

The Knights trail the fourth-placed Storm by just one competition point after their gutsy win over Souths and Melbourne's shock loss to lowly Canberra.

The Storm's quest to regain their position in the winners' circle has been helped by three key Knights being in some doubt for the match.

Skipper and fullback Kurt Gidley has been bed-ridden with the flu all week, although Knights staff say he is improving.

Tireless secondrower Steve Simpson (flu) and winger Adam MacDougall (flu and knee) may also be sidelined following the team's short turnaround after their Monday night match.

Hoffman said his side were bitterly disappointed by their defensive display against the Raiders, where they missed 38 tackles, and it had been a focus for the team this week at training.

He said his side's attitude was poor.

"It was very disappointing to let in as many tries as we did, it was a very un-Melbourne-like performance and that's something we're planning to remedy this week against Newcastle," he said.

"It comes down to individual preparation and that's something everyone's been working on."

Hoffman said regardless of who played, the Knights - who won their last meeting with Melbourne late last season - would be a force to be reckoned with.

"I don't think it's going to change Newcastle's attitude.

"They had a really gritty win and coming off a short preparation I think they're going to use the momentum to be able to put in a tough performance.

"Kurt Gidley on the paddock is probably one of the most inspirational players in the game and I'm sure Newcastle will look to him because he's been in great form."

The Storm were well aware that a loss would allow the Knights to leap-frog them into the top four.

"We want to stay in the top four and we know if we slip up here we'll find ourselves out," Hoffman said.

"It's a pride thing for us and it's a pride thing for them."

The Knights haven't decided on replacements for the ill players, with Cory Paterson likely to come into the side if Simpson is ruled out, while Wes Naiqama will step in for MacDougall.

A final decision will be made on the trio on Saturday.

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