Storm must stop Thurston: Munster
It's no secret Johnathan Thurston has had a major influence on most of North Queensland's wins this season, so Cameron Munster knows to beat the Cowboys, you must keep JT quiet.
Thurston has been under an injury cloud throughout the week after picking up a corked thigh in his side's win over Gold Coast on Saturday, but Munster doesn't believe that'll keep the four-time Dally M medallist down.
The key to beating Thurston is to close him down as quick as possible according to the fullback, but admits that's easier said than done when dealing with a player of Thurston's calibre.
"Obviously he's won a few Dally M's in his career and he's a very handy player for the Cowboys and we've got to be on our game for him and I guess try and minimise his timing and vision during the game," Munster said.
"It's going to be very hard because he's one of the best players in the world, and I guess we'll be trying to put him off his game as much as we can.
"JT will be really looking forward to this game and he'll be playing really well I reckon, so I guess we just have to play well and bring the form from last week to this week."
Thurston and the Cowboys will have quite fond memories of AAMI Park, as just last year North Queensland ended the Storm's season in the preliminary final on their way to their first premiership.
While the result is still on the minds of some players Munster isn't thinking about it too much, and knows that for Melbourne to win they need to focus on this weekend and not the last time the Cowboys came to visit.
"Not really [I don't' think about it], obviously we didn't play our best last year but that's behind us, we're more worried about this game here," Munster said.
"We've bought some good form in after the Sharks and hopefully we can keep doing that this weekend. We're not dwelling too much on last year, this is a new year.
"Obviously they won last year and they've been really consistent this year. We know we're going to have to produce our best performance against them (to win). They're going to be really hard to beat down here."
Munster will be looking to lead the charge from the back this week as Billy Slater sits out a finals series for the second year in a row following a season-ending shoulder injury in Round 1.
The youngster has turned to his fullback mentor for advice ahead of such a big game, and Munster believes there's few people more experienced than Slater to help him prepare for Saturday night's clash.
"Billy has been in grand finals and won them, so he knows a lot about the final stage and I had a bit of a chat to him the other day," Munster said.
"Just embrace it and just enjoy it - that's pretty much what he said and just don't take anything for granted."