NRL.com experts Brett Kimmorley and Steve Renouf have donned their coaching caps and provided a thorough rundown of what it will take to win, who the key players are and their all-important final pre-game instructions.
Kimmorley is in Melbourne's corner, while Renouf has put himself in Ricky Stuart's shoes for Saturday's showdown.
Match: Storm v Raiders
Finals Week 1 -
Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne
- Nine Network
- LIVE PASS
Plan of attack
We'll be looking to create havoc with our middle forwards, our two big front-rowers and Dale Finucane laying an enormous platform with strong go-forward. We get great width off a guy called Cameron Smith and we make you chase the ball from sideline to sideline. Smith makes great choices, Cameron Munster is an amazing runner and Ryan Papenhuyzen has probably been the find of the 2019 season.
I love the style that we play and we need to attack around the edges through our mobile forwards. John Bateman will figure prominently in that area and it'll open it up for guys like Jack Wighton to do his thing.
Plan in defence
Josh Hodgson holds the key for the Raiders and we need to stop him. He's probably the second-most influential player in the finals and if the Raiders get on a roll it allows Josh Hodgson to do what Cameron Smith does. Josh Papali'i has been a leader for the Raiders so we'll probably look to pack-hunt him and John Bateman, and also Jack Wighton is the other guy we have to contain. If we control those players it'll minimise Hodgson's effectiveness.
We know what Melbourne's pack can do and we can't let them dominate us in the middle. More importantly we have to hold them on the edges and make sure we're really switched on defensively. We also can't let Munster go out and get in his comfort zone.
My key player
I expect a big performance from Munster after he rested last week. He holds the key because he's the main link between Smith and the forwards - who link-passes and isolate defenders better than anyone - to getting the ball to guys on the edges. Munster is the sort of guy who gets the ball when he demands the ball. He doesn't think too much on the field but he plays what's in front of him, so if he's calling for it there's usually something on, so chuck him the ball.
I really think Bateman can have a big influence on the result. He's had such a good year and if he's allowed to do what he does around that edge he can be a real menace to the Storm. He's been one of the standouts of the season and always puts his stamp on the game.
Opposition's danger man
If we can control Hodgson it's a massive key to limiting all the Raiders' attack. If we can make him a bit frustrated off the back off that it pretty much blows away the Raiders' hopes of staying calm and winning the game.
Smith is an obvious key but Munster is the one who can make that difference and come up with a match-winning play in crunch time. He's had a week off and will come back very keen, and for any team facing Melbourne, he has to be talked about as the main danger because you just don't know what he's going to do.
We will win if we ...
We need a lot of support and energy around the football against the Green Machine, and we need to build pressure off our good kicking game.
We're a very good chance of beating them if we avoid that tussle in the middle and stick to our own game. Melbourne try to bring you into that grind but we want to stay away from that and be expansive on them.
This is our home venue and it's an enormous occasion for us. We'll have two weeks off if we win this game so let's be ruthless tonight and send a message to the competition.
Don't get caught up in the middle with them. Melbourne are very good at doing that and we can't allow that to happen. Let's stay expansive and change it up on them, and keep asking questions in the way we attack them.