NRL Storm won't mention Warriors: Slater - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

NRL Storm won't mention Warriors: Slater

By Melissa Woods 20/09/2011 02:42:59 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne fullback Billy Slater says the Warriors have hardly rated a mention in their preparation for Saturday night's NRL preliminary final.

But the Storm have already worked out a simple way to stop their opponents - starve them of the ball.

An enthusiastic Melbourne outfit, refreshed after the weekend off playing, completed a training session on Tuesday ahead of the AAMI Park showdown.

Slater said there was a buzz around the Storm camp, with the NRL grand final just one win away.

Although they've known who their next opponent was since the Warriors' heart-stopping win over the Wests Tigers last Friday night, Slater said they hadn't really spoken about them.

"To be honest we haven't mentioned the Warriors at all," he said.

"We'll do a bit of homework ... we won't be concentrating on them too much."

Melbourne believe they can use their trademark defensive strengths to nullify the Warriors' unpredictability.

"They're a real physical side, they're a big side," Slater said.

"The key is to make sure that we hold the ball, and make sure that they make just as many tackles as we're going to make and they're coming out of their own (half) just as much as we are.

"Holding the ball and controlling field position is going to be key to the game."

The Storm know intimately one man they need to stop in the Warriors line-up, Warriors five-eighth James Maloney, who is a former Melbourne player.

"We know firsthand how good he is," Slater said.

"He's certainly a big part of why they're in the position they're in.

"He plays quite structured but also can be a little bit unpredictable off Feleti Mateo and those guys as well.

"James is certainly going to be a guy we'll do some homework on and make sure we're aware of what his strengths are."

The Auckland-based side are one of only two teams to beat the Storm on their home turf this season, and have an impressive historical win-loss record against the minor premiers, including an upset win in the 2008 finals series.

Slater said that would count for little on Saturday night.

"It's irrelevant what's happened in the past.

"The team that goes forward in this competition is the team that focuses on the 80 minutes on Saturday night.

"What happened last time we played or three years ago it doesn't matter any more."

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