Matt the ball machine helping Storm prepare for Dogs
Melbourne have dubbed their ball machine "Matt" as they look to counter the aerial threat of Canterbury kicking ace Matt Burton at AAMI Park.
The Storm have been preparing for Saturday's meeting with five-eighth Burton, who boasts one of the biggest boots in the NRL, by wheeling out their ball machine.
"The ball machine's name is Matt," coach Craig Bellamy said.
"Matt Burton, he throws them bombs up with a lot of spin on them, different ways they turn and twist, so we had that out for a bit of practice this week and hopefully it helps us tomorrow night."
The Storm are set to have another rookie target for Burton, with 23-year-old Grant Anderson replacing injured winger Xavier Coates.
Bellamy said that while Coates completed the Storm's final training session he didn't pass the final medical after suffering a sternoclavicular sprain last round.
While Melbourne opened their season with a gripping golden-point win over Parramatta, the Bulldogs were disappointing in their 31-6 loss to Manly.
Burton came in for heavy criticism - with six missed tackles and four errors - but Bellamy didn't think Canterbury were as poor as the scoreline suggested, saying he thought they were unlucky at times.
The Storm have their own troubles at five-eighth, with Cameron Munster ruled out after a gruesome finger injury.
But Bellamy had faith in Munster's replacement Tyran Wishart.
"Any time you take one of your spine players out, especially one of the game's top halves which Munster is, you certainly miss him but I have a lot of confidence that Wishy will do a good job," Bellamy said,
"He's played a lot of first grade with us in different positions but he sees himself as mainly a half.
"He's done a great job for a couple years coming off the bench in different positions and he's always done a real solid job for us so I'm sure he will relish his chance tomorrow night."
Munster and Coates have joined a bulging casualty ward - the likes of which Bellamy has not seen in his 21 years at the helm.
"Probably even last year it started and I'm not quite sure whether it's just a bad patch or something at training but this is the worst run I can ever remember," he said.
"But our mentality is when someone misses out others get a chance, and that's what we're relying on."
Winger Kane Bradley, who played two games for North Queensland in 2021 and is on a train and trial with the Storm, has moved on to the bench in the wake of Coates' withdrawal.