Melbourne stalwarts Stephen Kearney and Rodney Howe will be hoping to farewell Olympic Park on a winning note when the Storm hosts the in-form Bulldogs this Sunday (3pm).
With the Storm scheduled to close out the regular season on the road, Sunday?s match looks like being Melbourne?s final home game for the year and the last chance for Melbourne to send-off Kearney and Howe.
Kearney, who is in his second season as Melbourne skipper, will join former Storm teammate and good friend Richard Swain at English Super League club Hull next season, while Howe is poised to retire at the end of the year.
Both Kearney and Howe have been cornerstones for Melbourne over the past six and seven years respectively and played significant roles in the Storm?s premiership success in 1999.
Kearney believes a strong showing against the league leading Bulldogs on Sunday would be the perfect way to farewell the Olympic Park faithful.
?I?m just hopeful that we can put on a good performance if it is to be our last game in Melbourne this year,? the former Kiwi captain said.
?A win would be ideal, we are coming up against a pretty good side so I?d be happy with a tough, gritty performance because that?s what it is going to take.
?Whether it?s my last game in Melbourne or not, we as a team owe the crowd a lot because they have been very loyal to us and very supportive of me especially.?
Kearney will be aiming to put emotion aside as the Storm shoots for its first win over the Bulldogs since the 2000 season.
?It will be emotional but I don?t want to let that get in the way of what we?ve got ahead of us,? Kearney added.
?It?s a good challenge this weekend against a very good side and if we let too much emotion get involved it can take the focus of what we?re there to try and achieve. So in that sense my first thoughts are just on performing well.
?In saying that Olympic Park holds very special memories for me, I?ve spent half my career here, as a family we?ve moved around a bit so Melbourne is probably the first place we could really call home.?
31-year-old Howe is uncertain as to where he will be next season, out of contract with Melbourne at the end of this year the former Test prop is leaning towards retirement.
?It probably will be my last game in Melbourne this week, that?s just the way it?s turned out but I?m really looking forward to it,? Howe said.
?It will be good to play a side like the Bulldogs at this time of the year because of the fact that it will give us a really good gauge as to where we are at.?
Kirk Reynoldson is also aiming to line-up for his last appearance at Olympic Park despite struggling to overcome a calf injury. The bearded 25-year-old is bound for Newcastle next season and is hoping to play one last match in Melbourne this year.
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James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]Like