Storm’s Eels scare may bite Broncos: Hunt

Parramatta may have produced the blueprint to finally rattle runaway NRL favourites Melbourne.

But Brisbane hooker Ben Hunt says the the Storm will be even harder to beat in Friday night’s preliminary final at AAMI Park because of the Eels’ brave challenge.

Hunt admitted the Broncos would have to follow Parramatta’s lead and be in Melbourne’s face to clinch the upset the Eels almost pulled off two weeks ago.

Parramatta gave the minor premiers the fright of their lives leading 10-4 at halftime in their qualifying final, threatening to sour skipper Cameron Smith’s record 356th NRL game.

But the class of Smith and company shone through to book yet another grand final qualifier and Hunt is bracing himself for the backlash.

“I think it makes them a bit more dangerous,” Hunt said of Melbourne’s close shave.

“They were pretty close to losing that game.

“If anyone beats Melbourne or goes close they usually get a bit of a tune-up at training and get themselves sorted out and come out stronger the week later.”

Yet Hunt believed Brisbane must at least take a leaf out of Parramatta’s book if they were to book a second grand final appearance in three years.

“We want to shift it around a bit because they wrestle so well,” Hunt said.

“The more passes we can string together the better we will be.”

But Brisbane coach Wayne Bennett warned his troops not to try to be someone else against the Storm.

“The Eels did some good things but we are who we are,” he said.

“We are not going into this game and change who we are.

“We have been doing it well, we just got to do it better (against Melbourne).”

Brisbane have won just four of 23 games against Melbourne since upsetting the Storm in the 2006 grand final.

Asked if they were underdogs, Bennett said: “I don’t know whether we are favourites, underdogs or what we are – it won’t matter (on Friday night).

“We have had our victories but they are a quality team, hard to beat.

“They are very a consistent team but we know what we are up against.

“A lot of our guys play Origin so they know the quality of the bloke they are playing against.”

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