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Raiders Record Is Irrelevant Says
As Melbourne prepares for its first NRL final in three years coach Craig Bellamy believes the Storm?s recent record over opponents Canberra is irrelevant.
The Storm have enjoyed two strong wins over the Raiders including a 20-point drubbing at Olympic Park in round nine and a ten point victory in Canberra just over two months ago.
The former ended Canberra?s unbeaten start to the 2003 Telstra Premiership season while the round 17 win severely dented the Raider?s minor premiership hopes, but Bellamy says these results count for nothing now.
?It?s a different circumstance on Friday night, we have beaten them (Canberra) twice but at the same time I don?t think the Raiders were at their best for either game,? Bellamy explained.
?You have your ups and downs throughout the season and they certainly didn?t play their best footy both times against us. It?s a whole new game now and it doesn?t matter who you?re playing and it doesn?t matter what happened before it won?t necessarily happen again.
?I don?t see it (record) as an advantage or a disadvantage either, it?s a whole new game.?
Having spent over a decade with Canberra as a player and then a coach Bellamy knows the Canberra set-up better then most? assistant coach Dean Lance also spent several years as a Raider along with Storm conditioning coach Alex Corvo ? but he concedes he had no predilection as to the Storm?s first opponent in the finals.
?We didn?t have any preference as to who we wanted to play we are just happy to be there,? Bellamy added.
?Both the Roosters and the Raiders have been in great form this year and whoever won yesterday was going to second spot and if you finish there you?re in fair form. Even the loser went to fourth and they?ve had a tremendous year.?
The Storm capped off its finals build-up with a straightforward 30-point win over the Sea Eagles on Saturday night but Melbourne will need to further improve its attack when it runs out at Canberra Stadium this Friday night.
?I was quite happy with our defence last week, Manly have had plenty of points put on them this year but they?ve also managed to score plenty of points,? Bellamy said.
?They only had 12 men but I thought our effort to limit them to ten points was pleasing ? one try came right at the end and the other off a kick so I was very happy with our defence.
?Obviously our attack was a bit rusty and I?m not quite sure whether that was from the bye or what it was, because they had 12 men I think we expected to score off every set so we just need to be a bit more patient.?
Bellamy concedes this week?s short turnaround will not help Peter Robinson (ankle), Danny Williams (ankle) and Glen Turner (eye) overcome injuries.
?It?s obviously not ideal in that we?d like a full week to prepare and I?m sure the Raiders would too but we knew what the circumstance was so we?ve just got to prepare the best we can,? Bellamy added.
?We are doing some things a little bit differently this week because it is a short week not because it?s a semi final and hopefully we can be as fresh as possible physically.?
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK Tuesday: 10am, Gosch?s Paddock 11.30am, St Kilda Baths 6.30pm, Olympic Park Thursday: 6.30pm, Canberra