Anzac contest more than a game: Smith
Cameron Smith says for the Melbourne Storm, the annual Anzac Day clash with the Warriors is worth more than just a win.
"I think for the teams that are lucky enough to play on this day, it is a little bit more then just the two points," Smith said.
"We've been fortunate enough to play on this day now since 2009, and I've played in every one of those games. It's a special day for Australia and New Zealand first and foremost, but given its importance to both countries, to have the opportunity and the privilege to play the game that we love playing on such a special day is an honour.
"It's something that we do speak about in the lead-up to the match, and how importantly it is to play well, but also to play for each other. It's what the day is all about really, helping your mate and doing what you can for them until the very end, it's what the day deserves so I'm sure you'll see a very special game on Monday."
Not only do these two sides face off on this historic day, but they play for the Michael Moore trophy, which is named in honour of the Storm's inaugural football manager who passed away in Auckland on the night of the opening round clash in 2000.
Smith said his team regularly speak about Moore in the lead-up to the match, which just adds another level of importance to the contest.
"Given that we both play for the Michael Moore trophy as well, that adds even more significance to the match," Smith said.
"We've spoken about Michael Moore and how important he is to our club, and when we speak to anyone that was at the club during his time, they say he represents something of an Anzac.
"He always looked out for his mates, and whenever things got hard he performed at his best, so this match is important to us on many levels."
It will be the second meeting of these two sides this season, after the Storm won a tough encounter in Auckland 21-14 five weeks ago.
Melbourne will take confidence from that match but are wary of the progression the Warriors have made since Round 3.
"Our defence was great [in Round 3]; at that stage they were under a lot of pressure and I thought that was the best they had played this season up until that date, so to come away with a really solid win over there, I was really proud of our effort," Smith said.
"They're playing more consistent football now so it'll be more of a challenge for us, but I think we're up for it."
The Warriors will be without star fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck for this Monday's meeting, and although Smith concedes it will be a big loss for the Kiwis he's more than confident they've found the right replacement.
"He's a huge loss. He provides plenty of energy in attack, he runs for 200+ metres every game, so it's pretty much like having two Shaun Johnsons in the team," Smith said.
"They've got a pretty handy replacement at fullback in Tuimoala Lolohea this week, he can play some footy."
"He's a big kid, and he's an aggressive kid so he's hard to handle, so while they lose Tuivasa-Sheck's speed and ability to beat defenders one-on-one, Lolohea doesn't worry about running around blokes, he just runs over the top of them."