Melbourne Storm five-eighth Scott Hill wants St George Illawarra captain Trent Barrett to line-up for the Dragons in this Sunday?s clash at Olympic Park, despite the fact that Barrett is under an injury cloud.
Barrett is battling to overcome a knee injury and Hill ? who has recently bounced back from ongoing shoulder injury ? is hoping his rival No.6 will take the field this weekend.
?I?m hoping that Trent does play because it?s better to beat a team at full strength than a team that is undermanned,? Hill said.
?I like to play against him (Barrett) and I?m pretty sure he?ll be there, that?s the mentality I?ll be taking into the game anyway.?
After a miserable 2003 season ? Hill played just eight matches after breaking down four times ? the former Test lock reminded everyone what he is capable of last week, putting in an influential performance against the Knights.
?It was good to finish the game without an injury and I was pretty pleased with my game ? there?s just a few little things I need to look at ? considering I?ve been out for a long time,? Hill added.
Much of the Storm?s performance in 2004 rests on the halves pairing of Hill and halfback Matt Orford, a combination that has the potential to be one of the most dynamic in the NRL but eventuated just six times last year.
?It (combination) went pretty well last week, in the couple of games that we had together last year it worked quite well and it?s only going to get better and better each game,? Hill explained.
?The on-field relationship between Matt and myself is definitely something I?m looking forward to developing throughout the year.
??Ox? is obviously a very good player, last year he was our primary attacker and having me around takes some of the pressure off him which will help his game as well as mine hopefully.
?The more game time we have together the better it will be for the team as a whole.?
The Storm had several opportunities to avoid last week?s ten point loss to Newcastle and, according to Hill, the round one bye is no excuse for failing to secure the Storm?s first win of the season last week.
?It (the bye) is a poor excuse, we beat ourselves and the previous week had nothing to do with it - using that for an excuse is a weakness in the team,? the 26-year-old said.
?We?ve got to up the ante this week, there?s no doubt about that. That?s one of our goals this year, we don?t want to beat ourselves, we did that last week and we won?t be letting it happen again.?
Melbourne will complete preparations for Sunday?s match with a final training session at Olympic Park tomorrow (10.30am). Coach Craig Bellamy is expected to finalise his bench following the session.
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