'Do or die': No safety net mentality for minor premiers

They might have done enough during the season to earn a double chance, but Melbourne Storm lock Dale Finucane has declared this Saturday's qualifying final against the Raiders as a do or die scenario.

The Storm finished the season six points clear of their nearest rival at the top of the Telstra Premiership ladder and will take on the Raiders on Saturday knowing they will remain in the premiership hunt even if they are beaten.

But Finucane believes his team must approach the match as if it is a cut-throat encounter and ensure they leave nothing in reserve.

"Although we get two opportunities ... you really need to have that mentality that it’s do or die," Finucane said on Tuesday.

"Most teams will be changing their mentality leading into this time of year because it is a new competition. 

“What has been done in the previous 25 weeks means nothing now and you don’t want to leave anything out on the field.

Match: Storm v Raiders

Finals Week 1 -

Full Time
Storm

Home Team

Storm

Scored 10 points
Raiders

Away Team

Raiders

Scored 12 points

Venue: AAMI Park, Melbourne

Match broadcasters:

  • Nine Network
  • FOXTEL
  • LIVE PASS

"We worked really hard to get to the position we are in ... moving forward it is do or die."

The Storm have welcomed back winger Josh Addo-Carr and reserve hooker Brandon Smith after they were rested for the victory over the Cowboys last weekend, while star five-eighth Cameron Munster replaces Brodie Croft in the No.6 jersey after recovering from a sore shoulder.

Munster will partner the relatively inexperienced Jahrome Hughes in the halves against the Raiders, with the versatile Kiwi one of five Storm players who will be participating in their first final on Saturday.

While having a handful of players without any finals experience may cause some concern, Finucane has faith in the Storm's youngsters to step up and show they belong on the big stage.

"(Storm coach) Craig (Bellamy) and the senior players are really good at preparing the (young) players for that," Finucane said.

"Just because it is finals it doesn’t mean you need to change the way you play.

"You just need to play your role and I will give my advice (to them) wherever I need to."

The Raiders are one of just four teams to have beaten the Storm this year, overturning an early 18-0 deficit to conquer the minor premiers 22-18 last month.

Finucane believes his teammates learned from that loss and remains confident they will perform better this time around.

"We started well last time we played the Raiders, but it was disappointing how many second half points we gave up," he said.

"We really want to hone in on the Raiders' strengths and ... subtle areas of our attack that need to be better."