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Storm vow to toughen defence

Ryan Hinchcliffe plays his 150th game in Storm colours on Sunday. Copyright: Charles Knight/NRL Photos. Credit: NRL Photos Copyright: NRL Photos

Melbourne back-rower Ryan Hinchcliffe says discipline in defence is the team's focus as they prepare for their clash with the Titans at AAMI Park.

Hinchcliffe, who will run out in Storm colours for the 150th time on Sunday, said the squad had identified where they went wrong in their 28-point drubbing at the hands of the Bulldogs.

“Getting 30 points put on us in the second half, that’s certainly unacceptable,” said Hinchcliffe.

“Defensively I think we really need to tighten up. We were certainly a bit loose around the middle of the field and the edges as well. So that will be our big focus this week.”

Crucially, the Storm will be sweating on the fitness of captain Cameron Smith ahead of Sunday’s game.

Smith had scans yesterday to assess the severity of back soreness that forced him to withdraw prior to kickoff against the Bulldogs and will be racing the clock to be fit.

Meanwhile Hinchcliffe said Alex McKinnon's tragic predicament continued to be hard-felt around the Storm camp, adding the 22-year-old would always have the support of everyone at the club.

McKinnon, who suffered spinal injuries in a tackle against the Storm in Round 3, remains in the Alfred hospital in Melbourne.

“It certainly has touched us… we are certainly thinking of Alex. It’s tragic what has happened but we at the Storm are here to support him,” said Hinchcliffe.

“Like everyone we are feeling for Alex at the moment and we are here to support him 100 per cent.”

Hincliffe admitted the sad situation had taken its toll on teammate Jordan McLean, with the young prop suspended for seven matches at the NRL judiciary on Wednesday night for his part in the unfortunate tackle.

“He (McLean) is just getting by I suppose, our thoughts and prayers are with Alex at the moment… we are also here to support our teammate,” said Hinchcliffe.

“It does a little bit (affect this week’s preparation) but for us, we have to move on. We’ve got an important game against the Titans on Sunday… we are obviously very disappointed with our effort against Canterbury on Saturday night.”

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