AAP Rugby

Storm back defence to stop rampant Eels

By AAP Newswire

Melbourne are confident Parramatta won't be able to repeat their dazzling try-scoring feats when they clash in their sudden-death NRL semi-final on Saturday night.

The Eels ran in 11 tries in their 58-0 thrashing of Brisbane to advance to an AAMI Park meeting with the Storm, who were two-point losers to Canberra.

Storm captain Cameron Smith says statistics show they are the best defensive team in the NRL and are backing themselves to shut down the Eels.

As minor premiers Melbourne conceded only 300 points in the regular season - 63 points better than the second-placed Sydney Roosters.

"The thing that we did do well is defend well," Smith said on Tuesday.

"Canberra scored a try in the 77th minute of the match on the back of an error where we weren't in great position to defend and up until then they'd scored one try.

"We're best defensive team in the comp and we've got that result for a reason - we work hard and have a good defensive structure."

Melbourne gave up their home preliminary final with the loss but Smith can draw on their 2015 heroics of his good mate Johnathan Thurston and his Cowboys for inspiration.

The then third-placed North Queensland lost their qualifying final but advanced to the grand final by ousting the Storm at AAMI Park in the preliminary final before a golden point win over Brisbane to take the title.

And in 2008, Smith was part of the Storm team who lost the first week of finals to the Warriors and ended up making the grand final, before being belted by Manly.

"It's not undoable - losing the first week doesn't mean we can't go past this week and progress further," Smith said.

"We've got a good footy side - we finished minor premiers so I think we need to take a step back from the disappointment we felt against Canberra and remember that."

The veteran hooker admitted he was "seething" about the way they played against the Raiders, feeling they had blown some golden attacking opportunities through poor ball control or decision making.

"Absolutely - yes and rest of team feeling the same way," Smith said.

"We're really disappointed with the way we played because we know we're a better footy side than the performance we put in and we left some opportunities out on the park.

"We are up for this challenge - it's not the preferred route but we'll be ready to go."