Star Melbourne Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster says the absence of Roosters enforcer Jared Waerea-Hargreaves for Saturday night’s blockbuster preliminary final won't make his side's task any easier.
Waerea-Hargreaves has often proved a thorn in the Storm’s side and the minor premiers received a huge boost when the Roosters prop was found guilty of tripping Rabbitohs centre James Roberts in the first week of the finals.
While Munster knows how important Waerea-Hargreaves is to the Roosters, he doesn't want his team-mates to go into Saturday's match thinking his absence will make their job any easier.
"It is a big blow for them as he gets their go-forward going, he is a big body and likes to intimidate a lot of people," Munster said.
"But we tried worrying about Cooper's (Roosters halfback Cooper Cronk) shoulder in the grand final last year and put all our energy into him and ended up forgetting about everyone else.
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"If we focus on the absence of Waerea-Hargraves then we are not going to focus on our own jobs so we are just focusing on ourselves this week, making sure we get our own preparation right and our own game plan right."
The Storm's preparation has included training on an AFL ground in Melbourne in an effort to replicate the conditions they will face when they take on the Roosters at the Sydney Cricket Ground on Saturday night.
The Roosters have won nine straight matches at the iconic Sydney venue this campaign, with their only loss coming way back in the opening round of the season when the Rabbitohs stunned them 26-16.
Match: Roosters v Storm
Finals Week 3 -
Venue: Sydney Cricket Ground, Sydney
Munster expects to receive a hostile reception from the pro-Sydney crowd on Saturday night, but thinks the fact the match is being played at a venue not predominately designed for rugby league may actually play into his side’s hands.
"No one really likes us when we are playing in Sydney and it will be no different when we are playing against the Roosters," he said.
"I am sure there will be a lot of fans heckling us, but we won't be hearing them that much as we will be that far away from the crowd."
Munster was sent to the sin bin twice during last year's grand final loss to the Roosters for a pair of incidents that the Queenslander described as a 'brain fart'.
The 25-year-old says he learned a lot from that match and has promised there won't be a repeat performance on Saturday night as he is now a much more mature player.
"I have moved on from it," Munster said.
"I was frustrated with the way we were playing and I took my emotions out in the game."
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