The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Storm coach Mark Murray believes Melbourne has regained the spring in its step required to overcome the North Queensland Cowboys this weekend, despite his club's two game losing streak.
Murray said that positive initiatives taken by senior players during the week has lifted the spirits of the side after much negative media speculation continued to follow the club.
“There has been a bit of a cloud lifted, we managed the have a very good meeting with Swainey (Richard Swain) through the week and he came away from that meeting much happier within himself and he's conveyed that to the group,” Murray explained.
“I think that the cloud's been lifted and the tone of the group has a lot more bounce in it.
“Hilly (Scott Hill) also addressed the group about some of the negative media that has been floating around and he confirmed that there was no truth to that and I think everyone was pleased to hear that as well.”
Murray believes a renewed sense of stability has lightened the atmosphere within the playing group and hopes this will flow on to Dairy Farmers Stadium come Saturday.
“There's no doubt that whilst we haven't played well that has been a contributing factor that's taken a lot of fun away from the environment for the boys,” Murray said.
“This week things have lightened up a little bit and I think that will transfer in to some better energy on the field.
“We haven't gelled as well as we would have like on-field but if that can happen we've got a good football team in the making.”
With Parramatta, St George Illawarra, Canberra and the Northern Eagles all jostling with Melbourne for the last two places in the top eight, the importance of this week's Cowboys match has not been lost on the players.
“I think there is five teams for two spots and I know the guys are well aware of where we sit in that scenario,” said Murray.
“As good as the Cowboys are going at the moment and we expect a really tough game, we need to get past that if we're going to do anything significant in a final eight situation.”