You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Storm searching for ways to crack Panthers

NZN 31/03/2017 Melissa Woods

Melbourne coaching mastermind Craig Bellamy has been working overtime in the lead-up to their NRL clash with Penrith as he looks for a way to crack their vastly improved defence.

The Storm host the Panthers at AAMI Park on Saturday night, pitching the No.1 defensive team Melbourne against the next best, Penrith.

Last season the Panthers finished the season ranked eighth best defensively and Bellamy said the change was notable.

"Penrith are a hard side to defend against, the way they play their footy, and we'll have to be right on our game to stay with them," Bellamy said on Friday.

"The other thing is that they've really improved their defence this year so finding a few ways to crack them is not going to be easy either.

"The one thing we need to do is to be better with completing our sets and we need a lot better start than we did last week."

Bellamy described the opening 10 minutes of the Storm's game against Wests Tigers as the worst start he could remember, which earned them a vintage halftime spray.

The Storm only had to peg back a 14-point lead but Bellamy expected the Panthers would make them pay considerably more if they turned in the same performance.

"I hope that was a good learning experience for us, or a wake-up call, but we will need to improve our start, without a doubt.

"The guys did a really good job to get back into the game but we don't want to be relying on that again."

Melbourne boast an enviable record against Penrith, winning all but one of their past 17 clashes.

But Bellamy said the fifth-placed Panthers showed they could match it with the best, losing to the competition front-running Roosters by two points before crushing lowly Newcastle last round.

The Storm are yet to make a final call on prop Jordan McLean (knee) and try-scoring winger Suli Vunivalu (shoulder).

McLean is the more likely of the duo to play after just missing out on facing the Tigers.

image beaconimage beaconimage beacon