Departing Melbourne Storm backrower Ryan Hoffman says the Storm can do some damage in the NRL finals after booking their place.
Ryan Hoffman isn’t ready to say goodbye to the Melbourne Storm any time soon.
Hoffman may have signed a three-year deal with the New Zealand Warriors but his heart is still in Melbourne and seeing them through another NRL finals campaign.
With the Storm’s place in the playoffs on the line against Brisbane, Hoffman was integral in their 22-12 win at AAMI Park.
It cemented their place in the top eight, although exactly where will be decided depending on other final round results.
They could finish as high as fourth.
Playing his 244th game for Melbourne, Hoffman scored the opening try, ran 156 metres, which was only bested by centre Mahe Fonua, who made 55 metres on a match-winning intercept try. He also made 30 tackles.
In typical understated Hoffman fashion, he said he was just doing his job.
“I just wanted to do my job for the team because we haven’t been in this situation before where we had to win to stay in the finals,” the 30-year-old said.
“We knew how dire it was to get the job so personally it was just about doing my role well.”
The hard-running forward said he felt the team still had unfinished business.
“Slowly but surely we’re playing to our potential,” Hoffman said.
“We know if we’re in the eight we’re giving ourselves an opportunity.”
While the win was crucial to their finals hopes, Storm coach Craig Bellamy said he wanted his team to play well in case it was Hoffman as well as Canberra-bound Sisa Waqa’s last home game.
“I was probably a little bit more nervous than usual before this game and part of it was result but part was that it’s always important to me that we send out our departing players on a good note,” Bellamy said.
“More so than ever with Hoff: 11 years his given this club, he’s a life member, played in our grand final-winning teams since 1999 and he never lets the team down.
“He’s always there to take those tough runs; I can’t talk more highly of him and it was really important to me to send him out on a good performance and I think we did.”
Meanwhile, the Storm are confident that Cameron Smith will be fine for week one of the finals despite the skipper suffering a potentially serious high ankle sprain.