INJURED Storm fullback Billy Slater believes having last weekend off will put his team in a strong position to qualify for another grand final.
Blockbusting winger Marika Koroibete (Achilles) and prop Jordan McLean (knee) were injured in the Storm's 20-18 week-one qualifying final win over the Roosters.
The Melbourne team will need both players back on deck if it wants to knock over the Cowboys in the second preliminary final at AAMI Park on Saturday night.
Slater said he was confident that could happen despite the Cowboys' impressive 39-0 shut-out of Cronulla.
"It (the week off) was extremely important for us. We got a few injuries out of last week's game, and having the week off is certainly a benefit," he said.
"Jordan McLean is out there (training), which is good to see, and Marika is still recovering, and hopefully he'll come up."
Koroibete (pictured) needed 12 stitches in a serious cut on the back of his Achilles from the Roosters game, while McLean's knee injury was believed to be minor.
Slater also spoke about the challenge champion Cowboys halfback Johnathan Thurston would provide in the preliminary final.
"A lot of teams these days like to put the bombs up and keep you in that 10-metre period. JT likes to put it along the ground and get you in goal to try and force an error," Slater said.
"You've got to rely on your teammates to put pressure on him, take his space away and work as a unit.
"If you try to take on JT one-out, I think that is where he can hurt you."
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