Star waiting for medical OK to play
Insights from All Blacks star Jordie Barrett in Melbourne this week could provide something extra for Storm players in desperate need of a Friday night win against the battling West Tigers.
Only a last-minute medical knock-back will stop Storm superstar Cameron Munster from playing at AAMI Park in a team left in no doubt by coach Craig Bellamy that they need to lift or else.
World Cup winning Barrett has been spending time with the Storm, continuing the tradition of informationsharing between coaches and players at the club and the All Blacks to the point where his offerings in team meetings have provided “little things” Bellamy thinks could translate into his team.
Several of Storm’s Kiwis, including suspended halfback Jarhome Hughes, have been “in awe” of the rugby star and his impression on the players could prove a lasting one.
“He’s been great being here and he’s been in our meetings as well and we learned a couple of things off him too, how they might do things different on the field for our players in a similar position to him,” Bellamy said on Thursday.
“Hughesy has been hanging off his hip for the last three days. It’s been great to have him here, all the guys are a bit in awe of him.”
Back-to-back losses to the Bulldogs and Titans, the latter coming after squandering a halftime lead, have turned the blowtorch on a group that is undermanned but not allowed to have excuses.
The coach has also been “honest” with his feedback to his troops.
Munster’s likely return is timely too, with Hughes suspended for the next two games.
Bellamy said he wanted Munster to play, Munster wanted to play and has ticked all the training boxes, but whether two weeks on the sidelines was enough would be a doctor’s decision.
“I don’t see any issues but I’m sure the doc will have a look at it and see if there is any dangers – it will be a medical decision,” Bellamy said.
“He wants to come out and help, we’re not going so well at the moment.
“If it’s our decision he’s playing, if it’s his decision he’s playing, but we’ll take that out of our hands.”
Jonah Pezet, who made his NRL debut on the Gold Coast last week, is set to replacer Hughes and has spent time on the golf course with Munster that could translate to an on-field rapport.
Pezet also lives with injured Storm fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen and has been eating up his advice.
“I‘m always picking his brain and the same with Munster,” Pezet said this week.
“His brain’s got a 1000 things going through it, but when you can pick the right thing out of it, it’s always a good thing.”
Bellamy said the 20-year-old, who also scored a try on debut, was confident enough to not shy away from the task in front of him against the Tigers.
“He did a good job last week in his debut – there‘s a couple of things he needs to probably be a little bit better at, but we didn’t expect him to come in here and win the game on his own.
“He‘s a confident young kid and he’s got good skills, so hopefully he can do a good job tomorrow night.”
Melbourne is on a four-game winning streak against the Tigers, having smashed them by a combined 90 points in those games, including hidings of 66-16 and 50-22.
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