No finals fear for Storm kids
MELBOURNE Storm is poised to field five finals debutants against Canberra Raiders on Saturday at AAMI Park - the most the club has fielded since the start of the 2012 premiership campaign.
The minor premier's rebuilt backfield includes three of the five, including Ryan Papenhuyzen, Jahrome Hughes and Justin Olam, while forwards Tui Kamikamica and Max King look set to retain bench spots.
Brodie Croft, Sandor Earl and Harry Grant will make way for Cameron Munster, Josh Addo-Carr and Brandon Smith after they were rested last week.
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Storm skipper Cameron Smith, a veteran of 36 finals including seven deciders, said the inexperienced teammates will benefit from taking good form into the post-season.
Papenhuyzen and Olam both started the season on the selection fringe but go into Saturday's qualifying final as important cogs in the Melbourne machine.
"The thing that is really encouraging for me is the form that those guys are in," Smith said.
"Olam is on fire, he got an opportunity through injury to come into the side and he hasn't given that jersey back just through his good form.
"I'm really excited about seeing how these guys approach it.
"I know they're really excited about being involved in their first finals series."
Storm went into the finals last year with two September debutants - Croft and Brandon Smith - after taking four into the 2017 premiership campaign.
The club opened each of the 2013-15 series with three debutants.
Smith said last year's grand final loss to the Sydney Roosters need not be used as motivation.
"We're not talking about going to another grand final or trying to get any redemption," Smith said.
"There are some guys that weren't even involved in that game.
"Our motivation is solely being a part of the finals and particularly … if we're good enough to win that (Raiders) game we're one step closer."