A shot across the bow from former teammate Brandon Smith calling Melbourne Storm’s first-up finals effort “putrid” hasn’t rattled the cages of Craig Bellamy’s men.
Instead, they have put up their hands and taken responsibility for the Brisbane shutout and vowed a massive turnaround when they confront Smith and his Roosters in a do-or-die final on Friday night.
Storm playmaking general Cameron Munster was unaware of the post-match comments from his premiership teammate after the Roosters secured their second round match-up in Melbourne and was quick to dismiss them.
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But he wasn’t going to forget the sledge either.
“Did he say that?” Munster responded on Monday when told of Smith’s appraisal of the 26-0 loss to Brisbane
“He pretty much says whatever comes off the top of his head, a little bit like myself.
“But we’ll see who has the last laugh on Friday.”
Storm hooker Harry Grant, who will go head-to-head with Smith on Friday night, said the Roosters rake probably summed up Melbourne’s performance well.
“It was a very poor performamce and he’s a character of the game so you don’t want to deter him from speaking the truth,” Grant said.
“It’s funny the way the script has panned out for him, coming back for a final against Melbourne Storm. We know the player he is and what he’s capable of.”
Munster and his fellow members of Storm’s spine – halfback Jahrome Hughes, Grant and fullback Nick Meaney – got together in the aftermath of the lacklustre defeat and all took their own share of the blame.
Bellamy said Storm looked like a “bunch of blokes thrown together”, as they struggled to muster any attacking threats and Munster blamed the poor connection between the playmakers.
That assessment ensured a player-led turnaround for Friday’s must-win semi-final as Storm stare down a third finals loss in four post-season matches since their 2020 grand final triumph.
Munster determined the need for himself and Hughes to get their hands on the ball more often would be crucial to keep their finals campaign alive.
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“We’ve gone over some things we need to get better at, and we just need to get involved a little bit more,” Munster said.
“You see the likes of Nicho Hynes and Nathan Cleary, they get the ball in their hands a little bit more.
“Myself and Hughesy are probably doing about half of that at the moment. That’s one area we can improve.”
Changes are coming for Storm following Ryan Papenhuyzen’s horribly broken ankle and winger Xavier Coates being in a moon boot on Monday after hurting his ankle against the Broncos.
Coates is yet to be officially ruled out, but the door has opened for the likes of experienced centres Justin Olam and Reimis Smith to force their way back into the team.
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