Forward Jason Ryles relaxes with other Melbourne Storm players at a recovery session at the Kawana Aquatic Centre.
Forward Jason Ryles relaxes with other Melbourne Storm players at a recovery session at the Kawana Aquatic Centre. Cade Mooney

Praise needed for Storm forwards

MELBOURNE boasts a bevy of the game's best ball players but assistant coach Kevin Walters believes the Storm's premiership aspirations hinge on the performances of its less-vaunted pack.

The Storm's highly touted spine of Cameron Smith, Cooper Cronk, Gareth Widdop and Billy Slater has been dangerous for most of the season and showed customary flair in the team's 19-18 win over Brisbane on Friday night.

But Walters believed Melbourne's forwards deserved some praise for their involvement in a current three-match winning run.

"There are a lot of unsung heroes at the Storm.

"The boys that play State of Origin get a lot of accolades but they can't do their work without the other guys chipping in and doing what they do," he said.

"I don't like to single out anyone but our forwards have been strong. We all know how important they are in the structure of the team."

And Walters said the pack must stand up and play tough in the second-placed team's push towards the finals.

"I know it's an old saying but forwards win matches and backs decide by how much and that's the philosophy we're running with," he said.

"We've got Cameron in there calling the shots from dummy half and if they (forwards) aren't pushing up and supporting him that takes away a lot of our strike," he added.

Melbourne trained in sunshine at Bokarina yesterday after enduring some wet weeks in Melbourne.

Walters said with the longer turnaround until the Storm's match with Cronulla on Monday, the three-day stop on the Sunshine Coast had worked out well for the team.

The clash with fifth-placed Cronulla at Melbourne is a vital one.

Meanwhile, Storm winger Matt Duffie will consult the club's doctor tomorrow after struggling to recover from a shoulder injury.

There are fears he could be out for the rest of the season.



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