Melbourne Storm captain Cameron Smith says he’s flummoxed by South Sydney’s diabolical NRL run but he’s not about to start underestimating the Rabbitohs ahead of their Saturday night clash.
The high-flying Storm host the stricken Souths, who haven’t won for two months, at AAMI Park.
It’s a streak that means the Rabbitohs will miss the finals for the first time in five years and Smith is as perplexed as anyone as to the root causes.
“I think everyone involved in the game has been surprised with the way they’ve been playing,” he said on Tuesday.
“They’re a quality side.
“I’ve got no idea what’s going on inside their camp … and it’s none of our business.
“We’re going to prepare (like) they’re going to come down and play well.”
Sunday’s 54-4 loss to Canberra might have been South Sydney’s nadir, while hours earlier the Storm became the first team to beat North Queensland in Townsville for a year.
The contrasting form-lines suggest a belting is on the cards and Smith has warned the Storm are only going to lift their efforts from here on in.
Smith and Queensland teammate Cooper Cronk are ramping up their training following the Origin period and are set on awakening an on-field partnership.
“Cooper and I have spoken to the coaches over the last week and we’re really looking forward to getting back with the squad now full-time,” he said.
“Its been nearly two months since we trained regularly with the squad. That brings a lack of cohesion.
“You’ve probably seen a little bit of that over the last couple of weeks with our attack.”
Melbourne are just a point behind league leaders Cronulla and have the minor premiership to play for but Smith insisted their focus was playing good football and not finishing top.
“We’ve got a tough run home. Souths (13th) this week and Raiders (3rd). Then Manly (11th) who are in good form and then two of the big teams in the comp, Broncos (6th) and Cronulla (1st).
“There’s no goal on winning the minor premiership or anything like that.
“We need to be playing our best every week to win those matches and Cooper and I need to be playing well.”