Melbourne faces selection headaches at fullback, five-eighth and hooker, with many names raising their hands after strong performances in a Test win over Newcastle.
Potential suitors Jayden Nikorima and Tyran Wishart both scored a try in a 24-10 win over Newcastle, while Bronson Garlick set one up for outgoing rower Felise Kaufusi.
Melbourne will miss Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and Cameron Munster through suspensions in the first round of the season, while Cooper Johns left the game early after picking up an injury at AC.
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“The biggest puzzle for (coach) Craig Bellamy is who plays five-eights and who plays the dummy half,” Cooper Cronk said on Fox League after the game.
“I thought Tyran Wishart showed his hand today. (He) scored a try and was really solid for 60 minutes until the middle third defensively, so I think he’s a lock there.”
The Storm begin their campaign on March 12 at Commbank Stadium against the Wests Tigers.
“But as far as the five-eighth position, Cooper Johns is injured, Nick Meaney moved there a bit, didn’t really have too many nice touches and defensively left that try for (Jake) Clifford, so that the majority of the team’s performances have been excellent, it’s always that five-eighth place that’s going to cause headaches over the next two weeks.”
There are also still question marks over Ryan Papenhuyzen’s involvement in the first round due to injury, so at the moment only Jahrome Hughes’ place in the spine is locked.
“It’s a little concerning for us,” Bellamy conceded.
“We’re not sure what we’re going to do now.”
He hinted that Wishart was likely the man to fill in the No.9 shirt.
Munster, who was excellent himself, was full of praise for the former Dragon’s performance afterwards.
“He obviously has a bit of talent from his old man, but he’s a very nice lad. (He’s) willing to learn and he’s really good at half-modeling and very quick from there.
“I’m sure you’ll see his name in the papers quite often this year.”
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