SMART PLAYER: Cooper Cronk in control for the Storm during the last clash with the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium.
SMART PLAYER: Cooper Cronk in control for the Storm during the last clash with the Broncos at Suncorp Stadium. Bradley Kanaris

Broncos plan for risky business against Storm

WAYNE Bennett has won hundreds of NRL games and a lot of premierships with his players following a simple philosophy.

But against Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park tonight Bennett will encourage his players to gamble when the opportunity arises in a bid to destabilise the host's defensive structure which is so hard to crack.

"You can't beat the Storm without taking some sort of risk,” said Bennett, who orchestrated one of his finest grand final wins over Melbourne in 2006 which started a fierce rivalry between the two clubs.

"It has to be a managed risk with an off-load here and there. If you're going to run one out all night you will meet more than your match with Melbourne.

"If we play a bit smart we can do lots of things. We can't go down there brain dead.”

Bennett has written off the 48-6 flogging at the hands of the Storm in round 17 as any guide to tonight's bumper clash, revealing he had never previously experienced circumstances like it in his long coaching history.

On that night Bennett was forced to start with Alex Glenn in the centres and young Jaydn Su'A in the back row for suspended international Sam Thaiday.

But after 17 minutes, winger Corey Oates was forced off injured, leaving Bennett with no option but to play utility Kody Nikorima on the wing up against the much taller and electrifying Suliasi Vunivalu.

Melbourne halfback Cooper Cronk took full advantage of Vunivalu's 18cm height advantage, setting up three ties for the Fijian with perfectly placed kicks which Nikorima had no chance of catching against his high-leaping rival.

"It was a unique night,” recalled Bennett. "I've been coaching a long time and never found myself in a situation we found ourselves in that night against Melbourne.

"They exploited it better than any other team I have seen exploit such a dilemma.

"Cooper (Cronk) is a smart player and he exploited a situation we had no control over.”

With the same 17 players who overpowered the Bulldogs last weekend, Bennett is confident of a much better showing against Melbourne but admits the Storm is an extremely difficult team to break down defensively.

Brisbane has a number of players such as Corey Parker, Thaiday, Jarrod Wallace and Adam Blair who can slip an off-load away and Bennett will encourage the tactic if it is on.

"You have to be patient against them,” he said.

"Impatience plays into their hands. We have to be patient and expect everything we get to be hard earned.”

Skipper Corey Parker threw a scare into the camp when he left training early in the final session after appearing to roll his ankle.

"He just tweaked his ankle but he says he will be right to do,” Bennett said.

Melbourne can wrap up the minor premiership with a win over Brisbane and on its current form, with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk in their element, will be extremely hard to beat.



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