Storm to help celebrate Hoffman's 250th
Ryan Hoffman will play his 250th NRL game on Monday, it just won't be in the colour jersey Melbourne would have liked.
The favourite son will return to face the club where played 245 games, including 21 finals and four grand final appearances, and was made a life member.
Hoffman parted ways with Melbourne at the end of 2014, joining the Warriors on a three-year deal.
His milestone game on Monday will be met with mixed emotions from everyone at AAMI Park and his former coach is no exception.
"I'm getting myself ready for that at the moment… just trying to picture him playing in that jersey at AAMI Park is going to be quite tough for everyone here to be quite honest," Craig Bellamy said.
Hoffman may wear enemy colours now but the impact he made over his 11 seasons with Melbourne has not been forgotten.
"I don't think anyone doubts the quality of player or quality of person he is," Bellamy said.
"When there was a tough hit-up to be taken Ryan Hoffman was always there, that summed him up as a player to us. When you needed something done on the field he was the one to get it done.
"The one thing I really liked was that he had a bit of old school about him. As good a footy player as he is, he is probably a better person.
"Such a down-to-earth guy, always willing to help out everybody, very humble and I'm sure he's exactly the same with the Warriors."
Hoffman has proven to be one of the recruits of the year since his switch to New Zealand, scoring three tries in his first four games. He also leads the club for runs made and total hit-ups while ranking in the top five for tackles and metres.
One man who knows the Kangaroos and Blues representative better than most is his former captain.
Cameron Smith admits the Easter Monday clash will have a strange feel to it as his great mate gets set to run into him as opposed to by his side.
"It is going to be a little bit weird, I've only ever played against Hoffy at Origin, it's going to be a bit different playing against him at club level," Smith said.
"He's been playing really well… it's only early but a few people have been saying he could be the buy of the year for the Warriors.
"It would have been nice to see him run out for his 250th NRL match in a purple jersey but that's not to be so we'll just have to do our best against him for 80 minutes then we'll have a hand shake and a bit of a joke afterwards."
In a further show of how highly regarded Hoffman is still held at AAMI Park, even the opposing skipper had hopes he would enjoy a good performance in his 250th.
"I hope he plays well personally as well all do here, we hope he does really well in his milestone game," Smith said.
"Footy is footy, he is going to be going his hardest for the Warriors. He won't be going easy playing against his old club and his good mates.
"We'll be enemies for 80 minutes but we'll be going back to being good friends after the game… if he plays well and we get the two points we'll all be happy."
Melbourne will be looking to overturn a run of two straight defeats against the Warriors when the two teams meet at 5pm on Monday at AAMI Park.