We’re a better side this year: Smith

Melbourne managed to turn a season of inconsistency into a preliminary final berth in 2015 but the Storm skipper believes the side is better placed this time around.

Storm won 14 games last season, finishing fourth before going on to defeat the Roosters in Week One of the finals.

This time around Craig Bellamy’s side will enter the finals as minor premiers, having won five more games.

However it is not the win-loss ledger but rather the consistency of performance that will fill the side with confidence heading into Saturday night’s home Qualifying final against the Cowboys.

“I think we are much better placed,” the Storm captain said.

“Forgetting ladder position and where we finished, last year we were just fairly inconsistent and snuck into fourth. We came up here (to Sydney) and played a great game against the Roosters but we have come into this finals series playing a better style of football.

“We’ve had some tough games leading in and I think we are well prepared for this season.

“We can’t look back on the last 26 rounds and think ‘wow, we finished on top’, It is about working hard continuously at training.

“That is our only concern, the Cowboys this Saturday night, whatever happens we will go from there.”

The Club will host the Cowboys in yet another blockbuster at AAMI Park.

Storm have met the reigning premiers twice this season, winning both games, though finals football is a very different proposition.

“We are not going to ride off the back of that for this match, they will be a different prospect this time around,” Smith side.

“We’ve put that behind us as well. We are pretty confident in our game plan and we just need to prepare well now.

“(The Cowboys) are quite a tactical side, they’re a little bit different than some of the sides in the finals series.

“They’ve got a brilliant playmaker in JT and Morgo complements him very well and they are both playing behind a big forward pack.”

Tickets for Saturday night’s Qualifying final went on sale to Storm members on Monday at 10am.