Melbourne Storm will be ready for the wet weather should the heavens open up against Canberra Raiders on Friday night.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy went old school this week, hosing down the footballs for training on Tuesday with the Bureau of Meteorology giving Canberra a 60 per cent chance of rain on Friday in the late afternoon and early evening.
On the ball: Storm coach Craig Bellamy has his team ready for any weather conditions.Credit:AAP
The Raiders beat Gold Coast Titans 21-0 in heavy rain on the Gold Coast last round, leaving Bellamy concerned about his side’s preparedness for the wet after a dry Melbourne summer.
The Storm also had issues with turnovers through the pre-season but were good in that area in round one.
"We did a little of that early in the week [hosed down the footballs] and we might do a little today," Bellamy said on Thursday morning.
"Sometimes with weather predictions things can get unpredictable so we don't want to put all our eggs in the one basket in case it doesn't rain.
"Hopefully we will handle whatever weather conditions come along."
The Storm and Raiders were arguably the two most impressive sides in round one and the Storm have had the wood over the Raiders in recent times, winning six of their last seven meetings.
But Bellamy is good friends with Raiders coach and former teammate Ricky Stuart and he knows the Raiders have made a big step forward.
"I talk to Rick quite regularly and one of the areas they wanted to be better at this season was defence and they are certainly that," Bellamy said.
"The conditions were tough for both sides [on the Gold Coast] last week as it looked like it poured down the whole 80 minutes but to keep an NRL side to nil for 80 minutes is a pretty good trick these days."
While the Storm scored 22 points in round one, they didn't make enough of their dominance in possession in the first half and Bellamy has made it clear to his side he wants to see them take more chances on Friday night.
"We need to build on what we did last week, we did some really good things and hanging onto the ball was one of those after not doing so well in trials," Bellamy said.
"There are a couple of things we can hopefully pull out on Friday night and see how it goes."
The Storm will need to replace utility forward Tom Eisenhuth on the bench after he fractured his larynx last round, Patrick Kaufusi was named in the 17 at selection on Tuesday but they also have the likes of Albert Vete and Marion Seve in the mix to come into that last bench position.
Forward Joe Stimson is still out with a back injury, Bellamy said he was closer to a return but wasn't sure when that would be.
The Raiders caused a surprise this week when they named star back Jordan Rapana in the side only four months after shoulder surgery.
Bellamy said his side wouldn't change their plans just to test out Rapana.
"We are not going away from a whole game plan just to run at Jordan or kick at Jordan," Bellamy said.
"He's a class player. An international player and he's been one of the best wingers in the comp for a lot of years now so I'm sure he wouldn't be playing if he wasn't ready."
The Storm play the Raiders at Canberra Stadium on Friday at 6pm.
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