Storm bracing for Cowboys test
They've already beaten the reigning premiers in Queensland once this season but the Melbourne Storm know this week's clash against the Cowboys in Townsville will be an even tougher test.
The Storm currently sit in second position, six points ahead of the Cowboys in third, and a win over the Cowboys would all but ensure their place inside the top two come season's end.
These sides fought out a nail-biter in Round 10, with a Cameron Smith field goal the only thing separating the teams in a thrilling game at Suncorp Stadium.
Centre Cheyse Blair and his teammates will take a lot of confidence from that win, but they're aware things will only be tougher in Townsville this time around.
"It was a gritty win when we played them, only won by the one point, and I think it's the type of footy Melbourne is based on – we play grinding football, whether we win by 20 points or one point, it's sort of the way we play," Blair said.
"I've adapted to it, and I like winning those games, so that's where it does give you a bit of confidence.
"It'll be really tough going up there, they had a good win last week too against the Bulldogs who have been playing good footy themselves. It'll be a big test for us, and I'm really looking forward to it."
Although they've had their fair share of injuries this season the Storm may be buoyed by the return of one of their key big men, with forward Tim Glasby back in contention to play this week.
"I think Timmy (Glasby) is back this weekend so that should be good for us, but Macca (Jordan McLean) is out for another 4-5 weeks and he was having a great year to start the season, so we're definitely missing him," Blair said.
"Players are stepping in however and obviously it's just the next man up, and they're doing their job for the team."
Another player under an injury cloud for Saturday night's blockbuster is Johnathon Thurston, after the Cowboys playmaker was forced off in the second half against the Bulldogs on Thursday night with a hamstring complaint.
While no word has officially been sent through regarding Thurston's availability, Blair said his side would prepare as if the Clive Churchill medallist is playing.
"I'm not sure who will be there, but obviously Lachlan Coote is there as an extra half as well," he said. "We'll probably still train the same as we would have if he was there, and prepare as if he did play."