NRL: Grand final our only aim, says Smith

Cameron Smith. Photo / Getty Images
Cameron Smith. Photo / Getty Images

Melbourne Storm skipper Cameron Smith says his side doesn't need talk of their fierce rivalry with Manly to fire up for Friday night's NRL final, with a grand final berth enough motivation.

Much has been made of the hostilities between the two NRL giants, with emotions coming to a head in 2011 in the Battle of Brookvale.

Ahead of their preliminary final at AAMI Park on Friday night, Smith said winning rather than beating Manly was the goal.

"It's a big game, we're playing for a spot in the grand final, so I don't think there's too much time for anyone to think about doing too much else except playing footy on the field," Smith said. "Manly are a great side and they know how to win at this time of year."

The Storm are set to include some big bodies in props Jason Ryles and Sika Manu as well as second-rower Todd Lowrie, who are all returning from injury after missing the impressive qualifying win over Souths.

Size was an area Melbourne identified as a deficiency when they were bundled out by the Warriors at the same point last year.

Smith said they knew they had to get off to a fast start and withstand all that the battled-hardened Sea Eagles threw at them.

The Storm announced that 8000 tickets had been sold for the match with only five per cent bought by Manly fans.

Video refs canned

Minor premiers Canterbury offered their own solutions to the refereeing crisis gripping the NRL finals as the two men responsible for the latest gaffe last night paid the ultimate price.

Video referees Steve Clark and Paul Simpkins were dumped for this weekend's preliminary finals after incorrectly awarding a crucial try to Manly in their win over North Queensland on Friday night.

The latest in a long line of blunders from the officials in the box - it prompted the Bulldogs coach Des Hasler to suggest the on-field officials be the video reviewers as is the case in the NFL, while skipper Michael Ennis wants referees co-coaches Bill Harrigan and Stuart Raper to take up the hot seat in the box.

Ennis downplayed fears a refereeing error could end his side's season.

NRL finals

Friday
Storm v Sea Eagles
Saturday
Bulldogs v Rabbitohs.

- AAP

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