Smith set to play in elimination final
The Storm have received a significant boost ahead of Sunday’s elimination final against Canterbury-Bankstown with skipper Cameron Smith making it through the side’s final training run.
Five-eighth Ben Roberts remained tight-lipped when asked whether his skipper would play in the do-or-die clash but the Maroons and Kangaroos captain is a better chance to play than the 50/50 odds he was given at the start of the week.
"He (Smith) trained with us today, he did what was expected of him," said Roberts.
"We'll leave it until tomorrow to see how he pulls up and make a decision from there.”
While the rugby league world awaits news on Smith’s fitness, Sunday will be Roberts’s last game in Melbourne after the 29-year-old signed a two-year deal back in July to join English Super League Club Castleford Tigers.
He may be bound for the UK but Roberts has unfinished business in the NRL as he prepares to take on his former side.
Roberts spent six seasons with the Bulldogs, playing 93 games before joining Parramatta in 2012 and then Melbourne for the 2014 season.
Since the last time the two sides met in Round 19 their respective form could not have gone in more opposite directions.
The Dogs have won just two of their last eight games heading into the finals series while Melbourne has won six over that same stretch.
Despite recent results suggesting otherwise, the Bulldogs will make the trip down south fully confident of progressing to the second week of the finals after already defeating Melbourne twice this season, including a 6-4 result in their most recent visit to AAMI Park.
“You can’t really take any of their form into the finals, it is a different competition,” said Roberts.
“There are a few of the boys there I still talk to and they’ve got two great halves there in Josh Reynolds and Trent Hodkinson who have had really good seasons.”
The five-eighth admitted he was not ready to punch his ticket to England just yet.
“I’d like to stay for a couple more weeks if possible,” said Roberts.
“Obviously it’s the business end of the season and what every football team strives to get to. It is a whole different competition and a challenge we are looking forward to.”
The sudden death meeting will kickoff at 4.10pm on Sunday at AAMI Park.