Storm at turning point warns Slater - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm at turning point warns Slater

By Samantha Broun 18/08/2009 03:28:59 PM Comments (0)

Billy Slater has warned the Melbourne Storm are at a turning point and can kiss goodbye to hopes becoming NRL premiers if they start blaming poor performances on the absence of Greg Inglis and others.

Test fullback Slater lamented his own game wasn't up to scratch as a listless Storm was walloped 26-14 by a re-energised Newcastle with new coach Rick Stone at the helm on Monday night.

An uncharacteristic off-night saw Slater bomb an early try and fumble the ball on his own line to almost concede one as a poor defensive effort allowed the Knights to gallop out to a 26-point lead by the hour mark at EnergyAustralia Stadium.

But Slater refused to blame the Storm's poor attitude on off-field issues surrounding suspended superstar Inglis or injuries like that which ruled out emerging back Joseph Tomane.

"(Having) Greggy or Joseph doesn't help us tackle well," Slater said.

"Them not being in our side doesn't stop us doing what we do well.

"If we start looking who we didn't have in, the Sika Manus and those sorts of players, we starting to look for excuses.

"And when you start looking for excuses you may as well pack your bags for the rest of the season.

"We're at a turning point and I suppose it's up to us which way we go."

Inglis, who was stood down indefinitely after being charged with assaulting girlfriend Sally Robinson, was sorely missed in attack as the Storm failed to produce any real attacking flair until - faced with their worst loss this season - they scored three tries in six minutes.

"I don't think off-field stuff came into it, I think it was certainly an attitude thing, and certainly an effort thing," Slater said.

"We weren't prepared to work that little bit harder to get the result that we needed.

"They wanted to run harder than us, they wanted to wrestle harder than us, they pretty much wanted to do all the little things that build to a good performance better than us."

While the Storm are well-placed in fourth spot, a log-jam of teams are building momentum and vying for a spot in the finals.

Slater said the Storm must bounce back quickly and find a way to win away from Olympic Park.

"We've still got a little bit of breathing space but if we start looking at the table it takes away from our on field performance," he said.

"We've got to get our act together, we've got three games before the new season starts.

"If we don't improve and we don't hit our straps in those three games, well we may as well go home now."

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