Departing Melbourne veteran Ryan Hoffman says talk of his last game at AAMI Park is a sideshow and he’s only focused on helping the Storm play finals.
Ryan Hoffman refuses to contemplate the possibility that his 11-season, 242-game NRL career with Melbourne could be over on Friday night.
Perennial finalists Melbourne go into their final round clash with Brisbane at AAMI Park still able to finish in the top four, but also in danger of missing the finals altogether.
Bound for the Auckland-based Warriors next season, NSW Origin backrower Hoffman doesn’t want to think about the permutations that could end his time at the Storm on a sour note.
“I haven’t let it creep in because I’ve got so much to do for Melbourne,” Hoffman said on Monday.
“All those things are sideshows to what we want to do and that’s getting into the finals.
“We see (the match) as an opportunity because we’re still in with a shot of the top four but we know if things don’t go our way we could be in trouble.”
While disappointed with the 24-12 loss to premiers Sydney Roosters on Saturday in Sydney, Hoffman said the Storm felt they were still playing good football.
“We played really well for the majority of the game. There was just a patch there for 10 minutes when our errors caused the Roosters to get back into the competition,” said Hoffman, who had had a one-season stint with UK club Wigan before returning to the Melbourne fold in 2012.
“We’ve taken a lot of good things out of it, especially defensively because I thought we defended really well.”
Brisbane currently sit eighth so they also have their season on the line, ensuring Friday’s match will have finals-like intensity.
The Storm won their last encounter, in round 20, 30-8 and also boast victories in nine of their past 10 meetings.
Hoffman said he wasn’t aware of that great record but knew the teams had a great rivalry.
He said the Broncos had really rallied behind their coach Anthony Griffin, who will be replaced by Wayne Bennett next season.
“I wouldn’t know what our record is against them but we know that they’re a proud team.
“They need to win and so do we so it’s shaping up as great encounter.”
THE STORM’S FINAL ROUND SCENARIO
* Can finish as high as fourth and as low as ninth.
To make the finals
* Must beat Brisbane at AAMI Park on Friday night.
To finish fourth
* Beat Brisbane
* Penrith loses to NZ Warriors at home
* North Queensland loses to Manly at home
To finish ninth and miss finals
* Lose to Brisbane
* Warriors win
* Bulldogs beat Titans away