Storm wary of lowly Knights

Newcastle’s surprising ability to trouble Melbourne in the NRL could influence whether the Storm give their two biggest stars the week off.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said they will decide on Friday whether they play Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk in Newcastle on Sunday, after the last State Of Origin clash.

Bellamy is keen to give the pair a game off, but is unsure when it might happen.

“We still have eight games to go (before the finals),” Bellamy said.

“We’ll certainly be looking at giving them a break at some stage.

“What is the right time? It’s pretty hard to work out.

“But certainly, with the guys pulling up alright without any obvious injuries, they’ll have a fair say in that as well.”

He was then asked if playing the Knights this Sunday might influence that decision.

Melbourne are second on the ladder, while Newcastle are wallowing in last spot with only one win and a draw.

The Storm beat the Knights in round five by just four points.

“We don’t have a really good record against Newcastle,” Bellamy said.

“They probably should have gotten us at the start of the year.

“In round 24 last year, they rolled us here – they rolled us pretty easily, actually, and they ended up with the wooden spoon, we ended up running fourth.

“The year before that, we played them in Newcastle and I think we were in front with three to go – at the end of the game, they were in front.

“So they’d be feeling reasonably confident about playing us, I’d imagine, at the moment.”

He added he is unsure why Newcastle are troubling his team.

“They’ve really aimed up against us,” he said.

“They’ve caused us all sorts of problems – we’re obviously aware of that.

“Having said that, we just need to put that in the backs of our minds and just make sure we prepare well.”

Melbourne are coming off the bye and again will probably be without fullback Cameron Munster.

Bellamy said Munster’s ankle injury was worse than first thought and it is frustrating the player and the club’s medical staff.

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