Smith, Cronk to face Manly
After weeks of speculation regarding whether or not a rest would be given to Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk, it finally looks as though we have an answer.
For the majority of the past month the plan has been to give the two Queensland Origin stars a rest against the Sea Eagles on Saturday night, although after the loss to Canberra last round, the Storm can ill afford to have another slip up if they want to claim the minor premiership.
The game against the Silvertails comes on the back of a five-day turnaround and would be the perfect opportunity to rest the pair, but Craig Bellamy on Wednesday said they both needed to face Manly.
"At one stage it was [the plan to rest them this weekend], and at one stage it wasn’t," Bellamy said.
"Obviously there were things going on around it… but our guys are feeling pretty good and they're obviously playing well, but having said that we think it'd be the best thing down the track if we can do that, but at the moment we just think we probably need those boys playing so we can get a bit more practice with our attack.
"We haven’t scored a whole heap of points the last 3-4 weeks and we think that needs sharpening up a little bit, and it's hard to get that sharp in match conditions if you don’t have your halfback and dummy half in."
If the Storm do however manage to lock up a top two spot and even the minor premiership before the final round match against the Sharks, Bellamy would consider resting the pair, but knows the repercussions of a week off also need to be taken into account.
"Without a doubt [sealing top spot] would give us that opportunity, and I know in 2011 we rested our big three in the last game of the year and looking back I reckon that effected our momentum going into the finals and we weren’t in the finals quite what we expected to be," Bellamy said.
"You've just got to take in all the information from your performance staff and then make the decision, and that's what we’ve done this week."
A win against the Sea Eagles would lock in a top two spot for the Storm, but Bellamy is aware that's just half the job, and said his side need to take advantage of the spot they've earnt.
"Yeah obviously we'd like to finish in the top two but that's not a done deal yet, so we need to win another game and hopefully it'll be on Saturday," Bellamy said.
"We want to take advantage of where we're at. The guys have done a great job getting us in the position that we are, but unless you take advantage of that and perform well than it probably won't mean too much."