Melbourne Storm to go into camp on NSW northern beaches to recharge before assault on finals
Gilbert Gardiner, Herald Sun
MELBOURNE Storm will spend three days on the NSW northern beaches after Saturday’s game in Gold Coast as preparations ramp up for its assault on the finals.
The Kingscliff getaway is designed to recharge the batteries and help the club drill down on any problem areas.
Storm football director Frank Ponissi said the club has had great success with previous pre-planned trips to hot spots including Kingscliff, Kiama, Nelson Bay and the Central Coast.
“It’s something we do most years if we have an away game in the north,” Ponissi said.
“We stay on after the game just to change the scenery before finals, get a bit of warmer weather and just to freshen the boys up.”
The entire squad and football department will set up shop in Kingscliff until Tuesday.
The in-season sabbatical is timely with the Storm’s premiership defence taking a hit last week after a series of injuries and suspension.
The right edge bore the brunt of it, with Will Chambers (suspended) and Suliasi Vunivalu (hamstring) sidelined, while halfback Brodie Croft has played only a handful of games.
Tui Kamikamica, Ryley Jacks, Jahrome Hughes and Sam Kasiano remain in contention to replace injured pair Nelson Asofa-Solomona (ankle) and Brandon Smith (knee).
The record-breaker Smith copped a heavy knock last weekend, which forced him to sit out the second half of the bruising 16-point win over Parramatta Eels.
Apart from helping to nurture new combinations and familiarity, the weekend away also allows the Storm to recovery properly after a run of short breaks between games.
“You got the beach to recover and the warmer weather it certainly helps,” Ponissi said.
“It’s certainly not a holiday camp, what we would have done here Monday and Tuesday we’ll do up there.”
A win over the Titans will put the Storm within touching distance of another minor premiership, but a loss could dramatically alters the finals picture.
The top six clubs could all finish the round locked on 32 points, depending on results.