Finch confident Smith will handle role - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Finch confident Smith will handle role

By Melissa Woods 12/03/2010 04:37:12 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne five-eighth Brett Finch has welcomed the idea of Cronulla targeting the Storm's new halfback, given he is one of the world's best league players.

Test hooker Cameron Smith will start at No.7 against the Sharks at Toyota Stadium on Saturday night in their NRL opener, replacing the injured Cooper Cronk.

While the new halves pairing has only had one hit-out, in Melbourne's World Club Challenge win over Leeds in England, Finch said his skipper would handle the new role with his usual style.

"We've only played the Leeds game and we had a good start there," Finch said on Friday.

"In my opinion he's the best player in the game so he's pretty easy to work with and great to play alongside.

"Defence (playing halfback) is not going to be a worry because if anything he's going to do less tackles out a bit wider.

"I'm sure he can handle the switch, there's not too much difference except he's not bending his back picking the ball up from dummy-half all the time."

The defending NRL champions face a Sharks outfit desperate to make amends for a disappointing 2009.

They only won three of their 12 home games, and lost their last 10 premiership games, however Finch thought that statistic didn't count for much.

"That means nothing now, it's a new season and it all starts again.

"I certainly know from experience it's (Toyota Stadium) a pretty tough place to play and I'm sure Ricky Stuart will have his team up and firing."

Sharks skipper Paul Gallen this week signed a new two-year deal, which Finch believed would give Ricky Stuart's side a boost.

"He's a great player and he's a massive influence on players in that club," he said of the Test lock.

"He certainly adds another dimension for the side when he's on the paddock."

Finch, who is undecided whether this NRL season will be his last, said the Storm were more concerned about their own away record, particularly as they start the year with four games on the road in the first five weeks.

"The majority of our first couple of months are away while we're waiting for the new stadium to be built so it's going to be tough.

"Our away record was pretty poor last year so that's something we've got to hopefully rectify starting with game on Saturday night."

Despite their late finish to the 2009 season and long haul trip to Leeds, Finch said the Storm players were bristling with enthusiasm.

"There's a buzz around the team and plenty of confidence.

"We were missing a fair few first graders in the game against Leeds so to get a win against a quality opposition, it certainly gives us some confidence."

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