With so much riding on this week�s match Slater is well aware that the Storm will face a vastly different Eels outfit to the one narrowly disposed of in Parramatta earlier this year.
�The Eels are definitely a lot stronger heading into this match compared to when we met them in round 11,� Slater admitted.
�They were struggling at the start of the year but they�re really playing some good football now and I honestly think Sunday�s game is going to go down to the full 80 minutes.�
A win for the home side will further enhance Melbourne�s finals chances whereas a loss for the Eels will all but end their post-season aspirations.
�The Eels are treating every game as their grand final now and I think they�ll be extremely hungry,� the Storm fullback said.
�We�re not focusing on finals or anything like that at the moment, our main outlook is to the Eels and that�s it.�
The Storm�s initial encounter with Parramatta turned out to be a cliffhanger with Melbourne walking away with a hard-fought 12-10 win.
Slater was a key player in the outcome after Parramatta second-rower Lee Hopkins made the crucial mistake of holding down the Storm rookie in a tackle just three metres out from the Eels� line with one minute remaining on the clock. Halfback Matt Orford calmly slotted the resulting penalty goal and Melbourne snatched the narrowest of victories.
20-year-old Slater is hoping this week�s match won�t be quite so dramatic.
�Hopefully that (last minute penalty) won�t determine the game again this Sunday,� Slater added.
Since bursting on to the scene in round one Slater has been the NRL�s surprise packet of the year so far.
His 15 tries from 21 matches have him ranked equal fourth on the NRL�s top try-scorer�s list but the last few weeks he has found the going tough.
�I think it�s fair to say that I�ve been struggling a little bit over the past couple of weeks and that I�m in a bit of form slump,� the former track work jockey said.
�Hopefully this week I can get back on the horse and as a team we can get rid of some of the mistakes that cost us badly last week against the Bulldogs.�
Melbourne will conduct a final training session at Olympic Park tomorrow (10.30am) � no changes to the named line-up are expected.
For further information contact
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]