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Storm's Hoffman wins skipper's praise

He will be his fierce opponent in State of Origin next week but Ryan Hoffman is the player Melbourne NRL skipper Cameron Smith wants right alongside him in the Storm trenches.
Storm's Hoffman wins skipper's praise
by AAP

By Melissa Woods

MELBOURNE, June 17 AAP - He will be his fierce opponent in State of Origin next week but Ryan Hoffman is the player Melbourne NRL skipper Cameron Smith wants right alongside him in the Storm trenches.

The 29-year-old back-rower was integral in Melbourne's 18-16 win over Newcastle on Sunday, slipping a ball out of the back of a tackle for Billy Slater to score the match-winning try.

The win, followed by selection in the NSW team for the second Origin match in Brisbane, gave him double reason to celebrate.

Smith gave his long-time teammate, who won the John Ribot medal voted by past Storm players at the game, a glowing review.

"He's probably in the best condition physically of his career and that's helping him play the way he's playing," said Smith.

"He's putting his hand up for carries all over the park and he's a big man and he takes a lot of stopping.

"There's not too much flash about his footy but he's consistent and you know what he's going to give you every week and that's the type of player we love at our club."

Hoffman spent the 2011 season with UK Super League club Wigan before re-signing with Melbourne, where he made his NRL debut in 2003.

His return to the Storm was about playing representative football and winning premierships - goals he has now achieved.

After playing in the Blues' losing campaigns in 2007 and 2008, a series victory is another one to tick off.

"It's obviously going to be a very tough game up in Brisbane but these opportunities don't come along often," Hoffman said.

"I think we had the same opportunity in 2008, my last series, when we won the first one and had the chance to go up there.

"We've got a big job to do. We're not under any illusions there but we've given ourselves a great opportunity, we've just got to take it."




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