Storm embrace ‘relaxed’ Coast preparations for decider
Storm captain Cameron Smith says being based on the Sunshine Coast has made the build up to this year's grand final "unlike any other", with a more relaxed setting to benefit players.
In pink boardies and a pair of thongs, a laid-back and jovial Smith fronted media at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Thursday alongside coach Craig Bellamy.
While just days out from the biggest game of the year, Smith was cheerful and calm, even answering a journalist's phone mid-press conference.
Normally a hectic week full of training and formal commitments in Sydney, the 37-year-old said the Storm had been enjoying a more low key preparation ahead of the silverware battle with Penrith Panthers on Sunday.
"Well it does (feel more relaxed compared to previous grand final weeks)," he said.
"Given a lot of the restrictions around the country at the moment, we're up here on the Sunshine Coast and it's (grand final week) been unlike any other I've been involved in.
"Only once, I think it was our first one (grand final) in '06, we flew to Sydney for a grand final breakfast and then returned to Melbourne for the rest of preparations for the game.
"Other than that we've always been in Sydney fairly early on whether that be a Tuesday or Wednesday leading into the game."
He was hopeful being able to stay and prepare on the Coast would boost playing ranks.
"(Normally) there's a fair bit going on with certain formalities that need to happen and press conferences, but it's quite relaxed (this week) which I hope will benefit us," he said.
"Particularly those young guys that haven't experienced their first grand final.
"This is the same build up we've had for every other game we've had this year and you try and keep the same routine as much as possible."
Vice-captain Dale Finucane also savoured being able to have more low-key preparations for the decider at Bokarina.
"Obviously, we're usually in Sydney by this stage," he said.
"We were initially (to be here) for three or four weeks on the Sunshine Coast and now it's been four months.
"Preparations have been quite different throughout the year (compared to previous campaigns) but we're embracing and enjoying it."