Storm still on the rise, says skipper - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm still on the rise, says skipper

By Melissa Woods and Todd Balym 28/09/2009 04:39:51 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne captain Cameron Smith has put Parramatta on notice ahead of Sunday's NRL grand final, saying the Storm are yet to reach their peak.

Smith on Monday described the Storm's build-up to their fourth successive grand final as their best yet.

There are no serious injuries and no distractions, such as his suspension from last year's grand final which resulted in a legal stoush between Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy, chief executive Brian Waldron and members of the NRL judiciary.

"It's building nicely for us, it's certainly the best run we've had into a grand final over the last three years," Smith said.

"The best preparation we've had has been this year.

"We spent a lot of energy in the past on the minor premiership and this year it was out of our reach.

"This year we're peaking at the right time rather than peaking for the last round and then try and hold on for the final series.

"You can see from our matches we're travelling along nicely and we just need to continue that for another week."

His coach, Craig Bellamy, felt the side had more momentum than last year and in 2006, and said it was comparable to 2007 when they beat Manly to win the title.

"We had a lot of lopsided games in 2007 coming into the semis and then we beat the Broncos pretty easily and we played Parramatta here actually and it was a real tough game.

"That was the tough game we needed but we had some good momentum in 2007 so I'm not sure if it's better than then.

"This year I had a bit of doubt after the Manly game whether we really needed the week off but it worked out pretty good.

"Certainly our best form of the year has been the last month."

Smith said reaching any grand final was an achievement and it was difficult to rate one above another, although the team had certainly worked hard for this latest reward.

"We've had plenty of dramas this year and our form hasn't been so great and the consistency hasn't been there like it has in the past," the Test hooker said.

"I'm very proud of the group to pull together in the end and really start to perform the way we knew we could."

He said he knew the side could be champions after their gutsy round eight win over Manly back in early May.

"Playing Manly at Brookvale, I think that was a big game for us.

"A lot of the guys weren't involved in the grand final last year but they really took on board the desire we had to beat them up there.

"It's one of the hardest grounds to win at and that was the grand final replay and we had a really tough game up there and won it.

"Playing those games and winning against teams like Manly gives you a lot of confidence ... you know that you can go all the way and we've done that."

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