Koroibete's milestone game approaches
Ahead of his side's opening round clash with the Dragons, Storm winger Marika Koroibete has a little something extra to look forward to.
The speedster will play his 50th game in the NRL on Monday night, and Koroibete is quite humbled by the milestone.
"I didn't realise I was going to come this far, as a little kid playing back home with a ball. It's a big achievement for me, as a Fijian and being brought up in Fiji, it means a lot for me," said Koroibete.
Koroibete led the Storm in tries last year and had an impressive season, but the best moment of his career so far dates back to his first game.
"My favourite game is when I made my debut. That's the biggest moment for me, and I got the call up on my birthday to play first grade, so it was very special for me," Koroibete said.
The Fijian stepped his game up to another level last season, and he credits coach Craig Bellamy for working closely with him over the past 12 months.
"The coach was looking out for me, through pre-season last year, and this pre-season as well. They’ve been honest with me, doing everything right by me," said Koroibete.
Lining up on the opposite flank to Koroibete in Round 1 will be Young Tonumaipea, who last year couldn’t cement himself in the Storm side, playing only four games. This season however, Koroibete is expecting big things from the young Samoan.
"He's been outstanding in the pre-season. He's a hard-working bloke, coach has been working hard with him and giving him some tips, and I know he's going to have a good year this year, and hopefully he can stay in the team," said Koroibete.
With Billy Slater set to return to the Storm line-up for the first time since Round 10 last year, teams may try to test out his shoulder in the early rounds of the season. Koroibete understands that he may need to protect Slater a bit more, but admits it's one of the things the Storm do best.
"That's one thing Melbourne is good at, wingers and fullbacks working hard and working for each other. We've been working on that in the pre-season, dropping back on tackle five to help Billy and Cameron [Munster] at the back. It's just part of what we've been taught in the pre-season, to get back there and help each other," Koroibete said.
With the Storm's season-opener now only days away Koroibete, as well as the rest of the squad, is just itching for Monday night.
"I think all the boys are looking forward to it. It's been a long pre-season for us, everyone's working hard, so we can't wait to get in there," he said.