Captain Cameron Smith says the Storm face a tough challenge with just a five-day turnaround ahead of their crunch round 25 NRL match against the Roosters.
Captain Cameron Smith says Melbourne welcome the challenge presented by the in-form premiers as both sides gear up for what shapes as the tightest finals series in NRL history.
Three of the top four sides in Manly, South Sydney and Penrith were beaten in round 24, with the fourth-placed Sydney Roosters and fifth-placed Melbourne keeping their hopes of a final four finish alive with impressive wins.
The two sides clash at Allianz Stadium on Saturday in what Queensland and Australian captain Smith says could be a finals preview.
“From my experience it’s always nice to play in tough games leading into the finals because, let’s face it, there are no easy games once you get into the finals series,” Smith said.
“It’s good preparation given the Roosters are definitely going to be there.
“If we finish in the top eight (and) if we go all the way you’re probably going to meet them at some time. The last time they played us they gave us a pretty fair lesson in how to play finals footy.
The Roosters downed the Storm in Melbourne 32-12 in round 13 and hammered the Warriors last-start 46-12 in Auckland.
Melbourne’s defence was a highlight in their 24-10 win over the Panthers on Monday night.
“The Roosters had a really strong game on the weekend and are playing some good footy,” Smith said.
“It’s a huge challenge for us to get up for this one. It’s a five day turnaround.
“We head home (on Tuesday) then come back on Friday for the game on Saturday so it’s a huge challenge for us.”