If any NRL team could afford to lose Billy Slater it’s one with a ready-made replacement like Cameron Munster.
The 21-year-old stepped up as the Storm’s fullback last year when Slater was ruled out with a shoulder injury following Origin II in June.
After only one game back Slater requires exploratory surgery this week with his shoulder failing to properly heal, again handing Munster the No.1 jersey.
The 21-year-old looked right at home in their round two win over Gold Coast, after switching from the centres where he has been trying to find his feet.
He was good under the high ball and scored a classy second half try by dummying and then palming off a Titans defender.
Coach Craig Bellamy said Munster gained confidence as the AAMI Park game went on after spending almost no time there in the pre-season thanks to Slater’s presence plus a knee injury of his own.
“He missed a fair chunk of the pre-season with injury and when he has trained with us he’s trained in the centres so just getting used to that fullback spot again is going to take a little bit of time,” Bellamy said.
“For him to change his mentality from being our centre to a fullback is obviously different but there were some really good signs in that second half.”
And Bellamy can rest easy that at least one of his fullbacks should be available for the Storm during the Origin campaign.
Incoming Maroons coach Kevin Walters said Slater was a shoo-in if he was fit however Munster can’t be considered if he isn’t.
He was part of a group of eight banned from Origin selection this year after breaking curfew at an Emerging Origin camp in January.