Storm able to win NRL competition: Smith - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm able to win NRL competition: Smith

Melissa Woods 09/03/2011 05:23:38 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne believe they still have enough playing talent to win the NRL competition this season despite the departure of a swag of stars.

The Storm will open their 2011 season against fierce rivals Manly in their first game for competition points in almost a year.

There are 13 new players in the squad following the departure of such key personnel as Greg Inglis, Brett Finch, Brett White and Ryan Hoffman.

But Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith said they were aiming high.

"With the starting team that we're looking at at the moment, I think we can do a pretty good job," Smith said.

"There's a lot of quality players in our squad and I think people have lost sight of the fact that we've picked up some pretty handy players.

"We're confident that if we play well and everyone plays to their capabilities, then we can beat any team in the competition."

The club won't use last year's salary cap humiliation as motivation for the AAMI Park match and Smith said it hadn't even been discussed.

"It's definitely not a driving factor at all.

"Half of the squad weren't even here last year so it's hard for them to use what happened to the Melbourne Storm in 2010 to give them any motivation for 2011."

Since Melbourne and Manly contested back-to-back grand finals in 2007 and 2008 - although the 2007 title won by the Storm was stripped due to their salary cap rorting - the clubs have formed a fierce rivalry.

"It's going to be a pretty big game against Manly, everyone knows of our rivalry and the tradition of both clubs," said the Test No.9.

"It's a day we've been looking forward to for almost 12 months now.

"If we get the two points that will be nice because we haven't got two points in a long time."

He said that with so many new faces there was an unknown quantity about the squad.

"It reminds a lot of `03 when I first started," Smith said.

"The squad was full of unknowns and a lot young guys and there was four or five experienced guys that they played around.

"We did alright that year, we finished fifth ... if we finish in the top eight it's anyone's game, we've learnt that.

"We just want to play well and if we do that, I'm sure we'll be there somewhere at the end."

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