Storm only focused on NRL finals - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm only focused on NRL finals

Melissa Woods 09/08/2011 12:51:31 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne have learnt their lesson and won't make winning the minor premiership a priority at the expense of the NRL finals.

Facing the last-placed Titans on the Gold Coast on Saturday, the Storm look assured of the minor premiership with three competition rounds remaining.

Melbourne skipper Cameron Smith said the club planned to follow the same plan as in 2009, when they focused on the finals rather than a quest to bring home the JJ Giltinan Shield.

"It's important to us but it can't be our target. Our target's to be in the last game of the year," Smith said.

"We learnt from the past when there was a couple of years there when we said, 'Let's try and win the minor premiership', and all of our training had us geared to win that.

"But when we got in the semis, we found we were a little bit flat and were struggling through a couple of games to get to the grand final.

"In 2009, that was a little bit different and we thought, if we get there, that's great and if not, it doesn't matter because our goal's to reach the grand final and have a shot at that.

"This year it's no different."

After the Gold Coast game, the Storm will stay in camp at Kingscliff on the NSW far north coast until Tuesday, ahead of their mouth-watering Friday night clash with defending premiers St George Illawarra.

Smith said they have used the late-season camp during the past years to assess how they were travelling with the finals looming.

"It's also to look at some goals for the rest of the year," he said.

"We're in a position now where we're going to be part of the finals, obviously, so it's just to have a look at what we need to improve and need to maintain as a team and individuals as well."

Smith wasn't concerned that a number of the players in their ranks didn't have finals experience.

"I know we've got a few players who haven't been involved in those bigger games but I think they're all ready for it.

"Having Craig (Bellamy) in charge, I know he'll have them well-prepared to step up another level because that's what's needed in finals football.

"You need to be playing with more intensity and it's more physical and you've got to be playing out your 80 minutes."

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