Depleted Storm look at Origin upside

Melbourne’s four best pros may be missing, but the NRL side isn’t going to focus on the cons that come with State of Origin.

Ryan Hinchcliffe will captain a depleted Storm side on Monday, when they host Parramatta at AAMI Park.

Skipper Cameron Smith, fullback Billy Slater and star back Will Chambers are in camp with Queensland, while Maroons playmaker Cooper Cronk is sidelined with a knee injury and will miss the clash.

“We try and look at it in a positive way, it’s an opportunity for our club to grow and really develop some of those younger guys who maybe don’t take on the leadership roles when the older guys are in the side,” Hinchcliffe said on Thursday.

“We’re excited about it. We look forward to some players taking a bit more ownership of our performance.”

The most recent time the Storm played without any one of their `Big Three’ was in round 14 of the 2014 season.

That time Hinchcliffe led Melbourne to a thrilling 24-20 win on the Gold Coast.

The reliable forward is upbeat his young teammates can repeat the feat against the Eels.

“I’m very happy with the way the boys have been going,” Hinchcliffe said.

“It’ll be a bit of a different role for me, but it’s something I’ve done before and I’m very happy to do so again.”

Kurt Mann will take Chambers’ place in the starting side, while Ben Hampton has been promoted to halfback in the absence of Cronk.

The Storm are third on the ladder and high on confidence after a crushing 20-0 away win over Penrith.

“We were very disappointing against the Roosters the week before, so that was a bit of a reality check for us,” Hinchcliffe said.

“I’d like to think the boys’ attitude has definitely picked up since then.”

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