Spice in Broncos NRL battle: Hoffman

Melbourne forward Ryan Hoffman is predicting the Storm's NRL clash with Brisbane on Friday night will have some extra spice, rating the Broncos as their greatest rivals.

While former grand final opponents Manly and even the Dragons come to mind as the Storm's biggest foe, veteran Hoffman says Brisbane are the team their side sees as their fiercest competition.

The second-placed Storm have won their past two, against Penrith and Gold Coast at home, but travelling to the Queensland capital is a much tougher task.

The seventh-placed Broncos, who have lost their past four, led 14-0 last round against table-topping Canterbury before being overrun 22-14.

"Melbourne Storm and Brisbane games, you don't really take form into account," said Hoffman, who scored a try in his team's 24-16 triumph over the Titans.

"We've had some great battles, they're probably our biggest rival and a team we've had quite a lot of tough, hard, close encounters.

"There's a lot of history, a lot of close encounters and Craig (Bellamy) being from there so there's a lot of spice."

Melbourne were forced to scramble after trailing 10-0 against the Titans, with coach Bellamy saying he "lost his cool" at halftime.

The coach also gave his team an "Olympic-sized spray" to kick them into gear before the Panthers game.

Hoffman said his coach called it as he saw it but the team could win without a Bellamy blast.

"We don't need it but it lets us know exactly where we stand.

"We've got too many experienced guys to rely on Craig to give us something every week."

Hoffman was one of Melbourne's best against the Titans and was relishing being back in the side after a year away playing with Wigan in Super League.

He said the current side reminded him of the 2009 team which finished fourth in the regular season but with plenty of momentum, advancing through to the grand final where they beat Parramatta.

They were later stripped of the title after being found guilty of salary cap breaches.

"It's an exciting time, it reminds me of 2009 when our form was a bit up and down leading into the semis and we managed to get it right at the back end of the season," Hoffman said.

"That's the plan this year, to try to build our form going into the finals because you obviously want to be heading there with a bit of form rather than trying to find it."

LATEST BLOG POSTS