Stopping Raiders' Papalii key: Bromwich

The Melbourne Storm are braced for an other influential performance by Canberra propJosh Papalii.
The Melbourne Storm are braced for an other influential performance by Canberra propJosh Papalii.

Melbourne pack leader Jesse Bromwich is making it his mission in Saturday's NRL qualifying final to get on top of Canberra wrecking ball Josh Papalii.

The New Zealand-born Queenslander scored the match-winning try in their round 22 meeting, when the Raiders came from an 18-point deficit for a shock four-point win

It prompted Raiders great and Australian coach Mal Meninga to describe Papalii as "the best front-rower in the game".

Bromwich said stopping Papalii was a key to beating the Raiders at AAMI Park to secure a preliminary final berth and a week off.

"Definitely this week," Bromwich said when asked if it was a personal challenge.

"Josh is in career-best form at the moment ... it's not super personal, but you definitely go out there trying to play better than the opposition."

Craig Bellamy is also well aware of Papalli's ability to come up with metres and big play when Canberra need it most, with his try the stuff of nightmares for the Storm coach.

"He just went straight through our middle to score that try," Bellamy said.

"He is a wonderful player and has been Canberra's mainstay for probably 10 years.

"He is playing the best footy of his career and is a guy we need to defend well against on Saturday."

Bromwich felt the Storm had their own weapon in giant prop Nelson Asofa-Solomona, who was also in career-best form.

"He's gone to another level in the back end of this year," the Kiwi veteran said.

"I think he's figured out that he's the biggest guy on the field and is acting that way.

"I just love playing alongside him because he's so aggressive with his carries so nobody wants to run into him."

Raiders hooker Josh Hodgson is also on the Storm radar, stripping the ball from Melbourne which started the game-breaking try in motion.

"He is one of the best hookers in the game and we need to be on our toes this week," Bromwich said.

"But we can't go into the game thinking about one-on-one strips - we just need to look after the ball."

Bromwich said the Storm got complacent in their last clash after racing to such a big lead but they wouldn't make the same mistake.

"For us it's about really locking in and playing for the full 80 minutes," he said.

Australian Associated Press