MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - AUGUST 12: Jahrome Hughes of the Storm is tackled during the round 22 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on August 12, 2018 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Graham Denholm/Getty Images)

Melbourne Storm football operations manager and former club star Ryan Hoffman has admitted the club may look to rest more players ahead of the NRL finals.

With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Storm are two points clear at the top of the table and on an incredible 18-match winning streak.

Already the club have beaten the previous NRL-era record for the greatest winning streak, and with one more win against the Gold Coast Titans this evening, they would move alongside the 1975 Sydney Roosters on 19 matches at the top of the tree.

Their final two games will see them take on the Parramatta Eels and Cronulla Sharks.

This week's team lists held some surprises for the men in purple, with coach Craig Bellamy electing to leave out Justin Olam, Brandon Smith, Dale Finucane and Jahrome Hughes.

While Smith looked injured last week on multiple occasions, and both Hughes and Finucane copped sickening head knocks, it was thought the seven-day turnaround would be enough for the trio to feature this week.

SUNSHINE COAST, AUSTRALIA - MAY 24: Dale Finucane in action during a Melbourne Storm NRL training session at Sunshine Coast Stadium on May 24, 2021 in Sunshine Coast, Australia. (Photo by Albert Perez/Getty Images)

Olam had no obvious injury concern, however, Hoffman has confirmed to RSN Radio that all three players, as well as Olam, were fit to play this weekend, but have simply been rested.

"You might have seen on the weekend both Jahrome Hughes and Dale Finucane had head knocks. Both have passed all the tests and are fit to play, but they are getting rested," Hoffman said.

"Justin Olam is getting rested. Brandon Smith is getting rested."

Hoffman said it was all about getting the team firing ahead of the finals with the club was going through as they attempt to win back-to-back premierships.

"We understand that it's all about getting the team firing," Hoffman said.

"Because the boys have put themselves in a great position, we have an opportunity to rest guys and get guys nice and fresh for the finals.

"But it also gives guys on the fringes a bit of footy at the back-end of the season so if we do need to call on them in the finals, we know they have had some footy and they have had a taste of first grade so they'll be ready to go."

This week's resting of players has allowed Marion Seve to come into the centres for the Storm, while Ryan Papenhuyzen makes his first start since Round 10, with Nicho Hynes shifting to the halves. Harry Grant also has a start at hooker, while Chris Lewis is starting at lock, and fringe first graders Tom Eisenhuth, Tepai Moeroa, Cooper Johns and Aaron Booth can all expect time from the interchange bench.

NRL Rd 7 - Storm v Warriors
SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 26: Ryan Papenhuyzen of the Storm offloads the ball during the round seven NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the New Zealand Warriors at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium on June 26, 2020 in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images)

It's clear the Storm may rest more players before the finals, however, Hoffman didn't go as far as to say the club needed a loss, something Cameron Munster hinted at talking to the media during the week.

“Look, it would probably be nice to lose one before the finals come just to get a bit of a taste and a bit more motivation I reckon,” Munster said.

“The drive is still there. The boys still want to succeed and play well for each other. I guess there is a lot of talk about people playing well and going through the competition undefeated and then losing the grand final.”

Hoffman disagreed though, saying it was about the process rather than the results, and that there was no feeling of needing to have a loss. He did, however, admit the club had been below their potential in the last fortnight.

"I don't think so (needing to lose a game before the finals). I think everyone says it because everyone gets uptight about records and that sort of thing," Hoffman said.

"The club have never been that focused on results, it's more so about the process. There is no sort of feeling among the coaches about whether you have to get the monkey off the back by having a loss so it's not hanging over you.

"I'd rather keep winning, I'm sure the boys would rather keep winning, but in the end it comes down to the process on how you're playing. They probably haven't been at their potential the last two games, but at least its given the coaches something to keep the focus on training and keep the polish on."