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Eels style might catch on: Storm skipper

By Steve Jancetic 02/10/2009 07:49:30 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith believes Parramatta's success with their carefree style could spark a spate of copycat game plans should it deliver the Eels an NRL premiership.

Having chanced their arm all the way to Sunday's grand final, the Eels have vowed to stick with their entertaining brand of football against the more conservative Storm outfit.

And should the Eels emerge victorious at ANZ Stadium, Smith thinks more NRL sides could look to adopt similar styles when the competition kicks off in 2010.

"It might, especially if they win," Smith said.

"These days there's probably not enough of that and that's probably why they've been a standout in the back half of the year.

"It's probably something that teams have gone away from, the offloading style of play that you used to see a lot of 15-20 years ago - it's a style of footy that a lot of teams aren't used to defending.

"It (has become) more of a structured sort of game and Parramatta have re-invented the second phase game and just play what's in front of you.

"At times it's very dangerous. I think we've done enough work defensively to try and combat that, but at times they're unpredictable - we need to just defend what comes at us."

Surprisingly, for all the talk about Parramatta's entertaining style against the Storm's methodical approach, it is Melbourne who have been the more impressive attacking unit so far this finals series.

In two matches against Manly and Brisbane they have scored 80 points, outdoing Parramatta's effort of 74 points from their three finals wins.

The two standouts have undoubtedly been try-scoring freaks Billy Slater and Greg Inglis, but Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Smith had also been a key figure.

The Test hooker tormented the Broncos' marker defence in last week's preliminary final, while in both games he has come up with precise kicks for Slater tries.

Bellamy claimed Smith's strong form was a result of his being fresh at the back end of the season.

"He hasn't had the workload this year and we gave him a couple of weeks off training, he's had a couple of rests in the games the last few weeks when we've had good leads - he's certainly fresher than he's been for a while," Bellamy said.

"He's always got a high workload every year with the Origin and he's a guy that plays 80 minutes in a tough position every week."

The Storm were given the day off training on Friday, with the squad instead heading to the movies to watch Mao's Last Dancer.

While the story of the Chinese ballet dancer who defected while on tour in the US would not seem an obvious choice for a side preparing to do battle in a rugby league grand final, backrower Ryan Hoffman was keeping an open mind.

"I suppose it will be a good story, a few of the boys have read his book, it's a pretty inspirational book," Hoffman said.

"(Plus) Rocky came out 30 years ago, so it's a bit late to see Rocky."

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