League greats say Storm can be beaten
ANDREW Johns and Darren Lockyer have revealed their game plan for doing what many NRL pundits considered near-impossible only 24 hours ago - beating Melbourne.
The Storm have produced one of the most dominant seasons ever in the NRL era to take out the minor premiership by a gap of three wins.
Melbourne have by far the best attack and defence in the competition despite regular resting of Origin players Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Tim Glasby.
They won their final three games of the regular season by a total of 140-24.
However, despite recent dominance, the Storm were tested in an 18-16 win over the Eels in Saturday's qualifying final, with a Cameron Smith penalty goal in the 63rd minute proving the difference as Melbourne qualified for an incredible eighth preliminary final under coach Craig Bellamy.
Lockyer, whose NRL games record was broken by Smith on Saturday, claimed the Eels exposed some "cracks” at AAMI Park.
"You need to get in front,” Lockyer said on Nine's Sunday Footy Show.
"When Parramatta got to the lead at 10-4, you started to see some cracks in the Storm. The passes weren't sticking.
"Unusually, they were retreating out wide in defence and they were allowing Parramatta a lot of easy metres, they (Parramatta) were winning the field position battle.
"Obviously you've got to hold onto the football but if you can get those metres out wide and you get in front (on the scoreboard), you start to put them under pressure.”
Lockyer said the Storm get rattled when behind because they must stray from their structure.
Johns, the eighth Immortal, said opposition sides should target the Storm out wide early in sets.
"Coming out of trouble you can go around them, I'd look to go wide,” Johns said.
"Play them in reverse, when you come out of trouble, look to use the ball and go around them.
"Then when you get down to field position, you have to play through them, you cannot play around them, and that was evident in the pass from Mitchell Moses (to set up Will Smith's try).”