Storm expect Smith record to lift players

Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy says Cameron Smith's 400-game milestone will give his players a lift, including the losing Queensland Origin contingent.

CAMERON SMITH of the Storm charges forward during the NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand.
CAMERON SMITH of the Storm charges forward during the NRL match between the Wests Tigers and the Melbourne Storm at Mt Smart Stadium in Auckland, New Zealand. Picture: Kai Schwoerer/Getty Images

Melbourne are counting on Cameron Smith's 400 game milestone to rally their troops for their NRL match against Cronulla on Saturday night.

Coach Craig Bellamy said his Queensland representatives - Cameron Munster, Will Chambers, Felise Kaufusi, Christian Welch - were downcast following their tight Origin series loss to NSW.

His Blues men, Josh Addo-Carr and Dale Finucane, were in contrast on "cloud nine".

But Bellamy said all were desperate to play in the AAMI Park match to honour their captain, who becomes the first player to reach the magical mark.

"I don't think there is too much physically wrong with them," Bellamy said on Friday.

"They will have some bumps and bruises, no doubt, and there is a couple of them we need to check but they all want to play.

"It's a big occasion - besides being our captain and the first player to do this, Cameron is popular among the group so they are all really keen but we will work out what is best for the team."

Bellamy said there was a feeling of excitement amongst his players rather than pressure.

"They are excited for Cameron and also about the chance to play in such historic game so we want to perform well."

Melbourne and the NRL are planning plenty of fanfare for Smith, including a light-show, guard of honour featuring former teammates, and the post-match presentation of a specially-designed crystal football.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a Sharks fan, will be in attendance.

The only Storm player in serious doubt is Kiwi Test prop Jesse Bromwich, who has been battling a virus in recent weeks and will need a medical clearance to play.

"We haven't seen him all week," Bellamy said.

"He came back from the Kiwi camp not feeling so good and he's been feeling flat the last couple of weeks."

There's no love lost between the Storm and Cronulla, who squared off in the 2016 grand final.

Bellamy said the Sharks, who will be missing skipper Paul Gallen through injury, would like nothing more than to rain on Smith's parade.

"The last three games they've lost but they've scored more tries than the opposition so we know they don't have too many problems scoring," Bellamy said.

"They've got (Andrew) Fifita back and he's a huge in for them.

"(Matt) Moylan is back and (Shaun) Johnson so those guys, with a couple of games under their belt, are going to be really dangerous.

"They will come here looking to spoil the party."


AAP