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Lucky charm: Momirovski out to upset old team

After being part of the Storm squad that celebrated grand final success over the Panthers last year, Paul Momirovski is now plotting on a way to trump his old team.

With star Penrith winger Brian To'o in doubt with an ankle injury, Momirovski has again been named at centre for Saturday afternoon's preliminary final clash against Melbourne at Suncorp Stadium.

The 25-year-old is only in his fifth season of NRL but if the Panthers can exact revenge on the Storm, Momirovski will have the chance to be involved in the third premiership of his career.

He is yet to play in a grand final however, missing out on that experience when his Roosters beat the Storm in 2018 and again watching from the sidelines as Melbourne took out the 2020 title.

"I think being a part of those other teams makes this one more special to try and get out there and play my own [grand final]," he said.

Prior to last week's tense win over the Eels, Momirovski's only finals cap came in his second NRL game when he was parachuted into the Roosters side hours before the 2018 prelim against the Rabbitohs.

He did a fine job stepping into Latrell Mitchell's boots in a 12-4 win, scoring what turned out to be the match-sealing try from a kick.

"I think it gave me a lot of confidence at the time. It's been a while since that game happened," Momirovski said.

"But I think just in general, being in that position before and knowing what that feels like, it's definitely going to help. It absolutely means nothing on Saturday, it's not going to give me much.

"But knowing I've been and done it at least once definitely helps."

Storm wounds propel Panthers premiership chase

With 17 matches to his name this season – almost half of his 36 career games – Momirovski feels comfortable on Penrith's right edge.

He is now set to have the unenviable task of containing Justin Olam.

"He's a great player. The Dally M [Centre of the Year] nominations came up and [Olam] didn't get even a mention there, which is pretty surprising to me," Momirovski said of the PNG powerhouse.

"He's been playing well all year and he'll be a tough match-up for me, but there are tough match-ups all around the park.

"It's the final four teams – there's no easy route to a grand final. One, I think [Olam] should get a little bit more recognition there.

"And, two, it's my job to just stop him."

Kikau one of several injury concerns for Panthers

Having seen first-hand how the Storm operate at this time of year, Momirovski knows Penrith must find something special.

"There's a lot of reasons why they've been so successful and there's a lot of other reasons why other teams are successful," he said.

"It's not down to one person, it's a collective, it's a group. They've got strong leadership down there and I'm sure there'll be ready for this weekend like we will be."

 

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