MELBOURNE Storm must find a balance between ball control and strong defence, according to football director Frank Ponissi.
Storm players return to training on Wednesday after three days off to freshen up for back-to-back blockbusters in five days, starting Anzac Day against Auckland Warriors at AAMI Park.
A potential top-of-the-table clash awaits Storm on Sunday week against St George Illawarra.
Despite not scoring heavily, the Storm machine had been impenetrable through the first five rounds before reigning premiers Cronulla last week and Manly punched holes through the purple wall.
The Eagles responded with three unanswered tires to cut the margin, capitalising on costly Storm errors.
“You fix one hole at one end of the ship and at the other end, which has been solid as a rock, suddenly starts to leak,” Ponissi said.
“Our defence has been phenomenal — it’s probably been our attack that hasn’t been consistent and not up to scratch, and that’s been more our ball control rather than our team attack.”
Storm, who boasted the best completion rate of any team last year, has committed 78 errors in seven games — up 12 on last season.
Storm front hits Manly2:20
NRL: The Melbourne Storm cruised to an early lead against the Manly Sea Eagles.
Ponissi put the high turnover count to “simple errors” during lapses in “concentration”.
“We had a huge emphasis on that (ball control) last week and I think what’s happened is some of the boys took their minds off defence,” Ponissi said.
“We really sharpened our attack … put 30 points on pretty quickly so there was some good signs.”
Ponissi expects Ryley Jacks (concussion) and Young Tonumaipea (concussion) to be available for selection. Enforcer Will Chambers will also return after a one-match ban, while Tohu Harris is two weeks away from playing.
“We’re starting to get the troops back which is handy,” Ponissi said. “We haven’t had the same 17 for two weeks in a row (and) that’s important in your continuity. We won’t be doing it this week because Will comes back in.”
Originally published as Storm striving to find right mix
SOURCE: newsnow sport