Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Write off the Storm at Your Peril in Big Match

Newspaper article The Daily Mercury (Mackay, Australia)

Write off the Storm at Your Peril in Big Match

Article excerpt

IF YOU believe the experts and tipsters, Melbourne has wasted its time travelling to Sydney for tonight's first qualifying final against the seemingly invincible Roosters at Allianz Stadium.

With no Billy Slater, and inspirational skipper Cameron Smith as "crook as a dog" after being flattened by a virus this week, the Storm has been given almost no chance of upsetting the minor premiers.

Despite losing hard-hitting forward Jared Waerea-Hargreaves (ACL), and also halfback Mitchell Pearce (hamstring), the Roosters are still hot favourites to win the premiership.

Speculation has suggested Pearce could be a late inclusion in the Roosters side, while Smith, who has not trained and has been bed-ridden all week, was reportedly "a little better" and would definitely take his place in the side.

The Roosters are entitled to be hot favourites, but Melbourne has a great record in finals under coach Craig Bellamy, contesting 11 of 12 NRL finals series. …

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