The Parramatta Eels are preparing to take on the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday 9 September in the Qualifying Final.
Fullback Will Smith is excited to return to the NRL Finals Series, having played two Finals games previously with the 2014 Penrith Panthers side, and he says there is plenty of buzz and excitement around the Blue & Gold squad this week.
The young fullback is excited about coming up against the experienced fullback Billy Slater.
“The boys are buzzing at training and we can’t wait to get down there and play,” Smith said.
“I can’t wait, I am pinching myself at the moment actually. To be playing fullback, up against a player like Billy Slater, I can’t wait.” He added.
“As a fullback, to watch the things that he does at fullback and I try to work on those things at training myself.”
There has been plenty of talk this week of the Melbourne Storm being the competition favourites, but Smith said the side is not phased, entering the clash with plenty of belief.
“A lot of people are saying it’s mission impossible but we are not listening to all that sort of stuff. We believe in ourselves and the team itself,” Smith said.
“Nobody gave us a chance [against the Broncos] up there especially and the boys came out firing.”
However Smith knows not to look back too far at the past performances, knowing that now Finals football has started, it is a whole new competition.
“It’s a whole new competition now,” Smith said.
“They had a couple of easy games going in, but they still played good footy as well.”
“We had a tough one on the weekend, when the Rabbitohs came out firing, but it is a new competition now.”
Smith has once again been named in the fullback position with Bevan French unavailable due to a hamstring injury.
He will be in a prime position to watch Eels winger Semi Radradra go up against in-form Melbourne Storm winger Suliasi Vunivalu.
Smith expects it to be an exciting encounter.
“It’s going to be exciting to watch them two [Semi Radradra and Suliasi Vunivalu] go at it. I was on the bench last time we played, and it was exciting to watch them go at it last time with Semi getting a couple of line breaks straight up.”
“I would say Semi enjoys going up against him, his Fijian mate!”
The Eels kick off against the Melbourne Storm at AAMI Park on Saturday 9 September in Week One of the NRL Finals Series. Kick off is at 4:10pm.