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Storm happy to prove title doubters wrong

Poised to claim the NRL minor premiership, Melbourne's Craig Bellamy has taken great pleasure in proving the doomsayers wrong this season.

Ahead of their clash with third-placed Canberra at AAMI Park on Saturday afternoon, the Storm are already six points clear with four games to play.

The Storm coach said his team were given little hope of being among the competition frontrunners this season following the loss of some big names.

"There was a bit of doom and gloom about our squad this year from outside after losing a guy like Billy Slater and a couple of Origin players in Ryan Hoffman and Tim Glasby so that's a lot of experience," Bellamy said on Friday.

"All the guys who've come in have done a tremendous job and worked hard and that shows in the results that they've got."

Melbourne won the JJ Giltinan Shield in 2016 and 2017 and were pipped in the final round last season by grand final winners, the Sydney Roosters.

Bellamy said the award meant a lot.

"The boys have worked really hard and to win the minor premiership and it's a big accolade within itself.

"But that's not our main motivation tomorrow night - we want to play well."

The Storm got a taste of pre-finals action last round against South Sydney which resulted in a war of words between the two clubs over Melbourne accused of not playing in the spirit of the game due to their wrestling tactics.

Bellamy got his chance to respond Friday, and had a dig at Souths' record at the judiciary.

"They (the Rabbitohs) have had a couple of guys at the judiciary the last couple of weeks and I don't know whether that is in the spirit of the game either," he said.

Canberra have a point to prove about their genuine premiership credentials, with no better place to do it than Melbourne.

With a woeful record against the Storm, they've lost the past four games at AAMI Park by an average of 19 points.

But Bellamy said they couldn't be discounted.

"They've had a great year - Ricky (coach Ricky Stuart) made a few changes and a couple of new English guys have really added something to the team.

"They're a quality side so we will have our work cut out."

Fullback Jahrome Hughes and exciting back Ryan Papenhuyzen are set to play after recovering from injury.

The Raiders also welcome back Joey Leilua for his 200th game after he underwent neck surgery that threatened his season.

STATS THAT MATTER

* The Raiders have won just 11 of 42 games (26.2 per cent) against the Storm, their worst record against an opponent.

* Both teams have completed at a high rate, the Raiders 78.6 per cent and Storm 78.5 per cent, with only the Bulldogs higher (79.3 per cent) this season.

* Canberra has won five of their past six away games, with btheir last defeat a round 15 setback to the Eels in Darwin,

© AAP 2019