Starving the Beast is key: NRL Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Starving the Beast is key: NRL Storm

By Greg Buckle 22/09/2011 04:08:56 PM Comments (0)

It's not a job for the faint-hearted, trying to put a 112kg Warriors winger known as "The Beast" on a starvation diet.

But Melbourne assistant coach Kevin Walters says the only way the Storm can keep Manu Vatuvei quiet in Saturday night's NRL preliminary final is to starve the big man of possession.

Walters says all he can tell the Storm players is good luck with that one, as he admits keeping Vatuvei quiet is going to be easier said than done.

"Try to stop him as best you can," Walters said on Thursday when asked what instructions the Storm's coaching staff could offer to their players.

"We've seen how damaging he can be and everyone's aware of that.

"The hard thing is to stop that, give him as little possession as possible. That's the key to it all.

"It's not just Vatuvei. They've got a lot of guys who are big and strong and carry the ball really well.

"And they've got some smaller speedier guys as well so it's a tough job for our guys."

Fresh from their upset 22-20 win against Wests Tigers in last week's semi-final at Sydney Football Stadium, the Warriors can also take heart from having beaten the Storm in Melbourne earlier this season.

Finals football in Melbourne also shouldn't worry the Auckland-based Warriors who defeated the Storm in a huge upset of eighth beating first in the first week of the 2008 finals series.

"They should be coming here without fear," Walters said.

"They've been in some really good form.

"Their performance last week against Wests Tigers was against the odds although we down here at the Storm certainly gave them every chance."

Walters said the minor premiers were proud of their defensive record in 2011 but the Storm players are well aware of the tough test they'll face against the Warriors.

"We know that they are a big strong side and, if they can hold on to that footy, they are very hard to contain," he said.

"They can score points and score them very quickly. That's a danger sign for the Storm.

"But we have been the best defensive team all year over 26 rounds and we're looking for even an improved effort in that area on Saturday night."

Warriors coach Ivan Cleary has complained the penalty count of 9-4 against his side in last week's clash with Wests Tigers was "horrendously lop-sided".

Cleary raised his concerns with referees' boss Bill Harrigan this week and the Warriors mentor says he is pleased with the way the discussions went.

However he remains puzzled by his side's struggles with the penalty count.

But Walters says the Warriors haven't been the only side scratching their heads.

"We've had our own troubles with the referees at different stages of this year," Walters said.

"It might be the two most-penalised teams coming up against each other.

"They've had a few problems last week but I'm sure they'll iron that out.

"I don't think it will be an issue on the night with the referee. The team that plays the best football will win the game."

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