Storm ready to weather Brisbane forwards - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm ready to weather Brisbane forwards

By Todd Balym 20/09/2009 05:30:42 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne second rower Ryan Hoffman says the Storm won't be bullied by an imposing Brisbane forward pack that bashed St George Illawarra out of the NRL finals.

Brisbane's hulking forwards Nick Kenny, Dave Taylor and Ashton Sims mauled the minor premiers on Saturday night to claim a 24-10 win that set up a finals re-match with the Storm following their dramatic clash last year.

The brutal defence and hard-running by the Broncos clearly rattled the Dragons and Hoffman said it was noted by the Storm players as they gathered together in Melbourne to watch the game.

"They made their intentions known right from the kick off, their first 10 minutes was particularly brutal," said Hoffman.

"I'm sure they'll be looking to take the same intensity into the game against us.

"Teams have to try and state their dominance on the game nice and early and it's whether or not you can weather that storm, excuse the pun.

"Whether or not they can keep it going for 80 minutes or whether or not we can withstand it for 80 minutes and give it back to them ourselves."

Despite losing hard-hitting Test stars Jeremy Smith and Michael Crocker this year, Hoffman believes the Melbourne forward pack is up to any challenge after blooding young firebrands Aiden Tolman, Ryan Tandy and Scott Anderson throughout 2009.

The Storm withstood an early onslaught from Manly in their 40-12 qualifying final win just two weeks ago and their pack could be further bolstered this week with the possible return of Anderson (hamstring).

"At the start they were just learning what they could do with this team and coming to the start of the finals series they've really stood up," said Hoffman.

"Tolman got his opportunity to start in the front row and he has probably been our form player over the past couple of weeks.

"It's all well and good for these young blokes to get the opportunity but it's how they take it and they've been taking it really well.

"They're excited just like the rest of us to get through to the grand final."

Melbourne and Brisbane have forged a strong rivalry in recent years, particularly after some tense finals clashes.

The Broncos upset a rampant Storm to win the 2006 grand final, but Melbourne got revenge with a last-gasp victory in last year's semi-final in Brisbane to end a fairytale send-off for departing coach Wayne Bennett.

It is the memory of that loss, when Greg Inglis scored in the dying seconds, that Hoffman believes will serve as added motivation for Brisbane this week.

"I'm sure they will (think of 2008) but it's a different situation, there's a pretty fair prize at the end of the game and that's a grand final appearance," he said.

"I'm sure it's got to be in the back of their minds, but we're playing the Broncos team of 2009, we're not playing the Broncos team of 2008.

"They have their own goals and own intentions this year just like we do.

"Besides, there is no more motivation in any final than to win through to the big one.

"We know we have a massive task against them, they showed last night that they're definitely a force to be reckoned with in this competition."

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