Storm captain Smith racing the clock
Melbourne captain Cameron Smith is racing the clock to emerge from his sick bed ahead of Friday night's Qualifying final against the Roosters.
The champion hooker has not trained all week and on Wednesday was told to remain at home as he battles a virus.
Smith has bed ridden since last Thursday's win over the Broncos, which helped the Storm snatch a top four finish.
However just two days out from his side's meeting with the minor premiers the club was not mincing words as to the current state of their skipper.
"He looks like death warmed up to be quiet honest," coach Craig Bellamy said.
"You could probably see it coming on a bit the last couple of weeks, he's been a little bit quieter around the group. I must say on our camp the other week he seemed to do a lot of sleeping which is not like him.
"He walked in yesterday, came to one of our meetings and then we basically sent him home.
"Whether he will come to Sydney with us tomorrow I'm not quite sure. We're thinking with another day off today he should come up better."
Smith attracted some criticism for his absence at Monday's captains' call to launch the NRL finals series. Cowboys co-captains Johnathan Thurston and Matt Scott were also absent due to injury.
While Smith's absence raised eyebrows Bellamy said the health of his captain was no joke.
"I know he copped a bit of criticism on Monday but he is genuinely crook. He's had some sort of virus and he's lost a fair bit of weight," Bellamy said.
"That is typical though. As soon as something happens like that Cameron Smith seems to cop it for whatever reason. I might be wrong, I don't read too many papers but I'm pretty sure North Queensland did not cop as much criticism as Smithy did.
"We can honestly say this time, hand on my heart, he was genuinely crook and he was crook on Sunday."
Melbourne will give their skipper until the eleventh hour to declare himself fit for Friday night.
"If he is 50 per cent fit we will probably pick him," Bellamy said.
Melbourne travel to Allianz Stadium to take on Sydney this Friday night at 7.55pm.