Melbourne full back Billy Slater has dismissed the significance of his team’s record against the New Zealand Warriors ahead of Saturday’s Grand Final qualifier.
The Storm have won 14 of their past matches against the Warriors, with their antipodean neigbours coming out on top 12 times.
There have been two draws.
Despite the even nature of the stats, Slater isn’t worrying about past encounters and instead prefers to think about Saturday’s clash at AAMI Park.
“It’s irrelevant what has happened in the past, what team is going to go forward in this competition is the team that focusses for the 80 minutes,” Slater said.
The Warriors come into the game off the back of last week’s spectacular come-from-behind victory against Wests Tigers.
And the men in black are no strangers to winning on the big stage in the southern capital having spring a surprise win over the Storm at the old Olympic Stadium in the 2008 semi finals.
“What happened last time we played, or what happened three years ago… it doesn’t matter anymore,” Slater said.
“They’re a physical, big side, they key is to make sure we hold the ball and they’re making just as many tackles as we are,” he said.
“It doesn’t really worry us what they do, we can’t control how they will play, we just need to make sure our defence is in order and nullify their attack.”
But Slater wants the famously AFL-mad Melbourne public to support the the Storm.
He added: “It’s going to help us out if we start the game well and bring the crowd into the game, we can’t expect to turn up to AAMI Park and think AAMI Park is going to win the game for us.”