Into the Storm - Australian Rugby league News
Backglobalrugbyleague - Thu, 28 Feb 2008 06:09:00 GMT
NRL Premiers Melbourne are stirring up a Storm to hit Leeds ahead of their World Club Challenge match against the Super League champs on Friday night.
The Storm have been over in England now for two weeks and feel ready to take the crown of World Club Champions from holders St. Helens.
In the way of the Storm’s success stands a confident Leeds Rhinos outfit.
Front rower Brett White summed up the lead-up to the game this way:
“We haven’t played against them before so, we’re sorta going in a bit blind and a bit into the unknown.
“You know we’ve watched them on video and on TV, but it’s not until you get out onto the park and physically come up against them that you can judge how we’re gonna go.”
Melbourne started their preparation for the game with a 56-10 demolishing of last year’s NRL runners-up Manly Sea Eagles. Then last weekend the NRL premiers battled past English National League 1 side Halifax 26-10, with Billy Slater grabbing a brace of tries.
Leading up to the Halifax game, winger Steve Turner admitted: “not a lot of us playing have even heard of Halifax.”
The trial games have been a success for Melbourne and now they must put all of their efforts into taking the title of World Club Champions back to Victoria.
White revealed his excitement going into the World Club Challenge, saying: “the great thing about the World Club Challenge is the unknown of it, and we can’t wait to get out there next Friday night and give it a go.”
The Storm though go into the game without skipper and 2007 Golden Boot winner Cameron Smith, meaning that Matt Geyer will take up the role of hooker and halfback Cooper Cronk will take on the captaincy.
White explained: “we’ve brought over a squad of 21 so there’s a few young blokes that’ll get a bit of a run.
We’re missing four of our big names from last year’s NRL Grand Final, so yeah it’ll be good to see how they [the young blokes] go.”
Going into the game, Craig Bellamy’s side has been getting all the help they can get.
Clint Newton, who won a Premiership with Melbourne last year and avoided a possible wooden spoon at Newcastle, is now playing for Hull KR and faced the Rhinos in the first round of Super League XIII.
Newton has been texting messages to the Storm players, trying to give them tips on Leeds’ play. Turner said light-heartedly: “I think Clint still tries to be attached to the Storm.”
The final preparations are now taking place in the Melbourne Storm camp and if all goes to plan for the visiting champions, Cooper Cronk should lift the World Club Challenge trophy in Leeds on Friday night. - Read More, Here