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Melbourne Storm and Queensland hooker Cameron Smith isn?t allowing himself to think about the National Rugby League finals just yet instead focusing on his team?s clash with Manly at Olympic Park this Saturday night.
With the Storm needing a win to cement its fifth position on the NRL ladder heading into next week?s playoffs, Smith says his teammates can?t afford to get too far ahead of themselves.
?We won?t be going out there on Saturday night against the Sea Eagles worrying about where we?ll finish on the ladder and what the standings for the semi finals will be,? Smith said.
?We just want to play well so we?ve got everything down pat and we know what we want to do when the finals do come around.
?(Coach) Craig (Bellamy) has said all year that we don?t want to worry about where we?re going to finish or specific match results but rather we just want to worry about the attitude we have towards each game.
?I think that has helped us out this year because when you start worrying about the finals too early or percentages you start to go away from what you?re good at so we won?t be doing that on Saturday.?
Manly come into this week?s match having never won at Olympic Park but Smith knows the Sydneysiders will be keen to send off departing coach Peter Sharp with a strong showing.
?Playing your last game for a coach is definitely the sort of thing that can lift you and the last time we played Manly they beat us so they?ll give themselves a very good chance of knocking us off,? the 20-year-old explained.
?We?re not going to take them lightly, we?re going to run on to Olympic Park and play like we?re taking on the top side.?
Smith, whose season has so far been highlighted by a sensational State of Origin debut for Queensland, says that the Storm has learnt from its disappointing 14-20 loss to Manly in round six earlier this year.
?At that time of the year we didn?t have our minds on the job and we turned up sort of expecting to win and if you do that is doesn?t matter who you?re playing you?re going to have a tough day,? Smith added.
?I think we?ve learnt from that mistake and we won?t be making it again this weekend.?
Smith was just 15-years of age when Melbourne entered the NRL in 1998 but he still has fond memories of PNG flyer Marcus Bai who will be playing his final match in Melbourne this week.
?Even when I was a young bloke in Queensland everyone knew who Marcus Bai was and what he did for the game,? the Storm rake added.
?When I came down here to Melbourne it just reiterated all of that and highlighted what he does for rugby league in Victoria and in general.
?What Marcus Bai does on the training track and during a game is what the Storm is all about so we certainly want to make his last match in Melbourne a memorable one.
?Hopefully we?ve got a few more wins in us this season but it would be good to finish off our home record with a good win for him.?
Melbourne?s 8-3 record at home this year is further enhanced by the fact that the Storm has also won nine games straight under lights for an overall record of 11-2 at night this season.
Melbourne will have a final training session at Olympic Park tomorrow night (5.30pm) before finalising the side for Saturday?s match.