Just a few weeks ago the Melbourne Storm were a lock to win their second straight Premiership. Now, as the team heads up to Brisbane with its season on the line, the Storm face the toughest test in their reign as the best team in the NRL.
In the loss to the Warriors the Storm played well, but they lacked their usual killer instinct.
We’ve all come to expect the Storm to just win. They have that typoe of form on the board.
When a big game rolls around, when its those championship minutes, the Storm step up and leave you in awe of their ability to win when it counts.
Then again, maybe this is just the latest chapter in the story of the great Melbourne Storm side of the mid to late noughties. The unexpected loss at home, the wakeup call they needed, the trip to Brisbane in hostile territory, against the club that was the last to claim superiotity over them in the 2006 NRL Grand Final…..maybe this is the story of the Melbourne Storm in 2008.
So what do the Storm need to do to win this weekend?
First off, their forwards need to step up and play much more aggresivly in attack and defense. They were way to passive against the Warriors and it cost them that all important dominance in the ruck.
The Broncos orwards are coming off a tough contest against the Roosters and while they will be a bit banged up, they will also be confident they can get one over the Storm forwards. One thing is for sure, its going to be a war up front on the weekend.
The Storm also need to get back to working the opposition around the middle of the field.
Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Greg Inglis and Billy Slater need to work angles and get the Broncos forwards moving around and having to make decisions in defense. This is something they didn’t do enough of against the Warriors, they pushed the ball wide far to early without building the foundation up the middle.
The Storm are at their best when their skill players are scheming around the middle of the park. They probably make more breaks in the middle third of the field than any other club, an with their stars able to work some of their more mobile forwards todars tired defenders, the Storm can then put the ball wide against a tired and scrambling defense, forcing defenders to make decisions and expointing any mistakes or weaknesses.
The problem Melbourne faces is the fact the Broncos backline is pretty good at making decisions. If they are lazy the Broncos backs will handle whats thrown at them.
Cameron Smith needs to lift his game. Over the second half of the season he hasn’t been playing to his normal level and its hurt the Storm. he needs to become a danger man once again.
There is no doubt the Storm can turn things around, but boy do they have to do it quickly, and against top class opposition.
Craig Bellemy will no doubt have the team at their best against the Broncos, its just a case of finding out if the Storms best is good enough any more.
A well known Rugby League writer, League Freak has established a reputation among supporters of the game for his fearless commentary and unmatched insight. With a reach that spans both sides of the globe, League Freak has produced an independent network that allows him to distribute content to his many thousands of followers. He is the owner and main author of LeagueFreak.com
Aug 15, 2019 0