Melbourne don’t have to worry about injured Warriors fullback Roger Tuivasa-Sheck running around them; instead they have to stop his replacement Tuimoala Lolohea running over them.
Test star Tuivasa-Sheck will miss their Anzac Day NRL clash at AAMI Park on Monday night, ruled out for the season with a knee injury.
But the Storm skipper says Lolohea presents a sizable problem himself.
“He’s a big kid, and he’s an aggressive kid. He’s hard to handle, so while they lose Tuivasa-Sheck’s speed and ability to beat defenders one-on-one, Lolohea doesn’t worry about running around blokes, he just runs over the top of blokes,” Smith said.
The Melbourne hooker was impressed by Lolohea’s performance at five-eighth last round, rating it as the Warriors’ best attacking show of the season.
The teams met in round three, with Smith saying their stern defence was key to their 21-14 win.
But with New Zealand hooker Issac Luke and burly winger Manu Vatuvei back in the Warriors line-up, he’s expecting an even tougher contest.
“They are playing more consistent football now so it’s going to be an even bigger challenge for us,” Smith said.
The teams have met on Anzac Day six times, with the Storm leading the head to head 3-2, with one draw.
Smith said the match was worth more than just a win.
“I think for the teams that are lucky enough to play on this day, it is a little bit more then just the two points,” Smith said.
The sides also square off for the Michael Moore trophy, named in honour of the Storm’s inaugural football manager who died in Auckland on the night of the opening round clash in 2000.
“When we speak to anyone that was at the club during his time, they say he represents something of an Anzac,” Smith said.
“He always looked out for his mates, and whenever things got hard he performed at his best, so this match is important to us on many levels.”