Warriors keen to savour Anzac Day atmosphere
It is a day steeped in history and mate-ship, and while the New Zealand Warriors are focused on their opponents, they are well aware of just how special Anzac Day is for the club.
The Warriors flew to Melbourne on Monday to acclimatise to Australian conditions and finalise preparations for their battle with the Storm, which has become a highly anticipated fixture on the NRL calendar.
The Warriors head to Victoria full of confidence with six wins from seven Telstra Premiership matches.
While a strong performance against the red-hot Storm is priority No.1 for the Kiwi club, coach Stephen Kearney is encouraging his players to soak up the historic occasion.
''It's not just another game for us,'' he said.
''Anzac Day is very significant for both New Zealanders and Australians alike. Our focus is on our performance but certainly we have an eye on the significance of the day as well.
''Melbourne will put on a pretty good show in terms of the pre-match, we are playing the defending premiers, so I don't think it needs a great deal more than that to get us up.''
Melbourne's AAMI Park has been quite the happy hunting ground for the Warriors historically, but captain Roger Tuivasa-Sheck knows his side will need to be at their best to overcome the Storm.
He said the players are trying to keep their focus on a game that ''has a Test match feel''.
''As a group, we are trying not to put too much on the occasion because I think that could potentially overwhelm some of us,'' Tuivasa-Sheck said.
''In saying that, we understand it's a big occasion and when you line up for the anthems and the Last Post you can certainly feel just how big it is. It has a test match feel for sure.''
Tuivasa-Sheck has spoken previously about how much he relishes one-on-one battles with the NRL's top-flight fullbacks.
He knows it doesn't get any bigger than clashing with Billy Slater.
''I'm excited about playing against Slater,'' the former Rooster said.
''I'm a massive fan of his and I've watched a lot of film on him and tried to bring a lot of that into my own game, so it should be a good battle and one I'm really looking forward to.''