Young guns face NRL finals acid test

They’re the breakout stars of the NRL who have plugged the holes which have stopped their ships from sinking.

But now Cameron Munster and Jackson Hastings face a true acid test in the finals furnace, head-to-head with the best in the game.

When Melbourne fullback maestro Billy Slater was ruled out for the rest of the season after undergoing shoulder surgery, it was roundly thought to be the death knell of the Storm’s title hopes.

However Munster has filled in with distinction and must have coach Craig Bellamy questioning what to do with him upon Slater’s return in 2016.

Likewise, the Roosters have also failed to miss a beat with Hastings steering the side around while Mitchell Pearce continues his rehabilitation from a hamstring injury which is expected to keep him out for at least one more week.

They have risen to the challenge of the week-to-week grind of the NRL. However finals football is another beast and their respective side’s chance in Friday night’s qualifying final will hinge on their ability to handle the pressure.

Hastings will line-up against Australian and Queensland halfback Cooper Cronk who has time and time again proven a match-winner with the game on the line.

Meanwhile, Munster’s opposite number will be Roger Tuivasa-Sheck, the Roosters custodian who has set the competition alight since being switched to the No.1 jersey this year.

Munster’s Storm teammate Ryan Hinchcliffe said the 20-year-old Rockhampton product had surprised many in the squad with just how seamlessly he had slotted into first grade.

“We all knew he could play,” Hinchcliffe said.

“But you never know until someone gets put in the hot seat.

“Being able to back-up appearance after appearance after appearance. To have that consistency, he has surprised a fair few of us. There’s no doubt about that.

“The challenge for him is to play to that standard each week.”

* All Offers and Promotions posted in this article excludes NSW residents.
Stay up to date with the latest sports news
Follow our social accounts to get exclusive content and all the latest sporting news!