Ryles proud of Storm's young forwards
Winning the battle up front remains the key focus for the Melbourne Storm as they hone their preparations for the grand final.
Storm forwards coach Jason Ryles praised his young forward pack's consistency across a demanding year.
"I think it has been well documented that Cameron [Smith] spoke to Craig and Frank Ponissi after one of the finals a few years ago, and spoke about recruiting bigger guys in our forward pack to aid him and get some real good go-forward for those guys," he said.
"It’s a real strength of ours. They're quite a big and physical team. We play to that and use that as much as we can."
Ryles has enjoyed Felise Kaufusi and Nelson Asofa-Solomona's development. They have continued their rise to mainstays of the Storm's pack in 2017.
"Felise has done a great job playing for 20 or 30 minutes last year, and this year played nearly 80 minutes each game, so that’s a huge effort.
"Nelson is improving every week. He's getting all his off-field stuff sorted, and a lot more consistent off the field, and that’s showing how he's playing.
Ryles said the forwards' gameplan hasn’t change greatly from last year but says the pack developed their ball-playing skills.
"Not a lot has changed with the forwards from last year to how we're playing," he said.
"Obviously we try and promote the ball a little bit – it's clear to see when you do watch our games. We just try to build our momentum each week."
Cowboy's lock Jason Taumalolo ran for a game-high 256 metres last week, continuing his dominant year. How are the Storm planning to stop him?
"One thing you don’t call him out – you don’t poke the bear, that’s just silly," Ryles said.
"Get in front of him and get as many people in the tackle as you can. Obviously it's something we'll speak about during the week, watch some footage of him, and do our best to limit the impact as much as we can."