As Melbourne Storm looks to record its fifth straight win this Saturday night coach Craig Bellamy is wary of a South Sydney side intent on adding some respectability to its season.
Not since the premiership year of 1999 has the Storm managed to string five successive victories together but the chance to emulate that feat presents itself this week against the Rabbitohs.
However, Bellamy believes Souths pose a real threat of snapping the Storm?s current winning streak and under new coach Arthur Kitinas, the Rabbitohs will be fired up in the wake of Paul Langmack?s departure last week.
?I know Souths haven?t had a great year so far but they?ve got a new coach and history shows that when a coach goes midway through the season and a new guy takes over, the team really fires up in their next game, so we?re expecting that on Saturday night,? Bellamy explained.
?I?ve watched some of their games, they are really trying hard and they?re not going that bad, I know they haven?t won many games but they?re being really competitive, more so than last year.?
Bellamy will be hoping his troops can avoid a repeat performance of last year?s encounter with Souths in Sydney where the Storm suffered its worst defeat of the season, going down 27 points to last year?s wooden spooners.
And with the bye round looming next week, Bellamy knows the importance of taking a win into the break.
?I think we?ve got some momentum going now, we just need to continue that momentum on Saturday night. It?s important to try and get the two points every time you play but I just know that if you go into that bye on a poor performance it?s a long two weeks,? Bellamy added.
?If we perform well and the opposition is too good then we can live with that, but it?s going to be a long two weeks if we don?t go up there and play well.?
Inaugural winger Matt Geyer has been named for Saturday night?s match but is in serious doubt after suffering a massive gash to his left shin during Melbourne?s six-point win over Wests last week.
?Matt has obviously got a bad cut to his leg and we won?t know until later in the week whether he?ll play or not, hopefully he?ll be OK but it?s a really bad cut so we won?t be taking any chances with it,? Bellamy said.
Five-eighth Scott Hill has also been named despite missing the win over Wests with a back injury, but Bellamy concedes he would rather see Hill in camp with the NSW Origin side rather than lining up for Melbourne this week.
?What?s happened has happened and he?s just got to go and play well for us. As a club and as individuals we?d rather he wasn?t playing with us this week and that he was in Origin, but that?s not the case so we expect him to play his role with us.?
Centre Ben MacDougall comes back into the side this week after completing a two-match suspension for knee dropping, while Jake Webster moves onto the bench. Kiwi forward Glen Turner is also in the mix after missing five weeks with a calf injury.
With QLD Origin stars Cameron Smith and Billy Slater in camp with the Maroons this week, youngsters Nathan Friend (hooker) and Steve Turner (fullback) come into the starting side.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE STH SYDNEY RABBITOHS, SATURDAY JUNE 12, AT AUSSIE STADIUM (7.30PM):
1. Steve Turner 2. Matt Geyer 3. Steven Bell 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Dustin Cooper 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 9. Nathan Friend 10. Alex Chan 11. David Kidwell 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Kirk Reynoldson
14. Danny Williams 15. Dallas Johnson 16. Ryan Hoffman 17. Rodney Howe 18. Jake Webster 19. Glen Turner
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK: Wednesday: 1.30pm, Olympic ParkLike