Storm ready for Roosters halves battle
Positional battles are often waged within the war of a rugby league game.
When the Roosters travel to meet the Storm on Saturday night you can expect no exception.
While both teams boast strong forward packs and scintillating outside backs, it will be the match-up in the halves that will prove a deciding one.
The one-time Blues pairing of James Maloney and Mitchell Pearce will take on the newly formed partnership of Cooper Cronk and Blake Green.
Pearce has made a strong start to 2015, ranking equal third in the competition for try assists and equal fourth in line-break assists.
The kicking games of he and Cronk are so vital to the fortunes of their respective sides with both players listed in the top five for kicks in play this season.
Melbourne will be out to make it three wins in a row this weekend while the visitors are desperate to avoid three straight defeats.
The Storm halves are know they face their biggest test of the season against Pearce and Maloney.
"It is a great opportunity for us, they are probably two of the best halves in the competition," Green said.
"It is tough to single out one aspect that they are really good at, but something that we picked out this week was that they are really good support players."
That they are, with Pearce leading the competition in supports while Maloney ranks sixth.
"They also kick really well and off the back of that their forwards defend really well and they often win field position because of that," Green said.
"It is important we put plenty of pressure on them and work hard on our first two plays [each set] and make as many plays as possible.
"They are a very good team, the Roosters. As we've seen over the last couple of years they have probably been the benchmark team."
After stints with the Sharks, Eels and Bulldogs, Green will finally play his 50th NRL game on Saturday night.
It has been quite the journey for the 28-year-old who has spent the past three seasons in the English Super League with both Hull KR and Wigan before joining the Storm on a two-year deal.
Green admits the path his career has taken is by no means customary but would certainly recommend it to any young player looking to entrench themselves at the top level.
"[The Super League] is probably not the most popular pathway young people use to develop their game," he said.
"I guess it's seen as a bit of a retirement opportunity but I went over there when I was 24 and got plenty of experience. I learned a lot a lot about my game which helped me develop and come back a better player here at the Storm."
After playing the first six games of the seasona the five-eighth feels he has now established a solid partnership with Cronk, one that will hold them in good stead against the Roosters.
"I am really comfortable playing with Coops," Green said.
"He is a really good talker obviously, a great organizer, and it's just my job to be a bit of a foil for him, take some pressure off and be a voice so he doesn't have to talk the whole game and give him some help."
The Storm and Roosters will kick things off at 7.30pm on Saturday night at AAMI Park.