Valentine Holmes shapes as a key saboteur in Melbourne's bid for another grand final berth.
Cronulla's fullback has been key to his side's late-season run, racking up 12 tries and 15 line breaks in 10 games, and was central to the win over the Panthers on Friday.
The Storm's preliminary final against the Sharks on Friday also looms as an audition between Holmes and Melbourne's Josh Addo-Carr for a wing spot in the Kangaroos' October Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.
Holmes has established himself as a strong representative performer on the wing - with 11 Tests for Australia and five Origins for Queensland. He is one of the few players in the Telstra Premiership who can give Addo-Carr a run for his money as the fastest player in the competition.
Melbourne will also have their hands full in the middle of the field trying to contain barnstorming prop Andrew Fifita.
The controversial Sharks prop leads the NRL with 72 offloads this year and produced a compelling performance against Penrith.
"Val's form since Origin has been outstanding," Addo-Carr said.
"He's playing really good football for them. And it's no surprise Fifita's playing the same as the past couple of years. He played a really good game on the weekend.
"It doesn't come down to two players - their whole squad's dangerous."
The Sharks are clearly a team which can rattle the normally composed Storm side, having claimed three from four wins since their 2016 premiership victory, including two-from-two in 2018.
How does Addo-Carr explain the heated rivalry between the two teams?
"They're two competitive sides who want to win," the 23-year-old said.
"It comes down to the grand final a couple of years ago. We love playing against them, and they love playing against us."
There are plenty of reasons for the home side to have added incentive against the Shane Flanagan-coached side apart from the main prize - a berth in the grand final.
Kangaroos centre Will Chambers will return after serving a three-match suspension for a dangerous tackle.
There's also incentive to send veteran fullback Billy Slater out on the right note at AAMI Park.
"We're not too focused on that," according to Addo-Carr, who played for Cronulla's under-20s team.
"We'll just do the best we can and try to send him out a winner."