Winds of change breed fresh mindset
Billy Slater was not a part of last year’s Grand Final team.
In fact, 10 players named in the Sunday’s squad to face the Sharks did not feature in the 2016 decider.
That all but eliminates any emotional baggage going into Storm’s Grand Final at AAMI Park this weekend.
Melbourne have made an unbeaten start to the season to sit on top of the NRL ladder while the Sharks have climbed to sixth after back-to-back wins in recent weeks.
With kids coming free on Sunday, the middle of school holidays, a big crowd is expected to witness some high quality rugby league.
“It was a tough loss (the Grand Final) but we lost many players at the end of last year and we’ve gained a lot of new players,” Storm fullback Billy Slater said.
“I know it is a Grand Final replay, it is going to be a huge occasion on Sunday afternoon so hopefully we get a big crowd.
“This group of players are willing to work really hard, especially in defence. That is a great foundation to have in a football side.”
Slater is now three games into his return after almost two years out with a shoulder injury.
Since coming back he has averaged 109 metres and nearly 5 tackle busts per game.
He admits he is not at full speed yet, but does not believe he is far off his best.
“I am happy with where the shoulder is at and with where my game is heading,” Slater said.
“I am like everyone else, I look to improve on my performances each week.
“I feel like I am building, I’m still getting that match fitness because I hadn’t played in two years but that is coming back slowly.”