Melbourne NRL captain Cameron Smith doesn’t want to see Cameron Munster lose his running game as the team look to mould him into the Storm’s new five-eighth.
Since the departure of Blake Green to Manly, the Storm have rotated the position and will continue to do so in Saturday’s trial in Hobart against Canterbury, hoping to lock in a playmaker for their round-one repeat meeting in a fortnight.
Smith said Munster was the frontrunner to wear the No.6 jersey in the season opener.
“If Cameron performs well against the Bulldogs, he will probably play there in round one,” Smith told reporters.
“(He) has done a fair bit of work in the No.6 jersey over the pre-season and he’s actually trained really well there.
“But we get an opportunity to see a couple of other blokes there tomorrow.
“Brodie Croft has performed well in the Nines. He went quite good last week against the Warriors.”
Munster starred at fullback in place of the injured Billy Slater last season and there was still no time frame on the No.1’s return from a second shoulder reconstruction.
While backing Munster as the new playmaker, Smith said he didn’t want to see the 22-year-old lose his best attribute.
“He’s put a lot of work into his role as a five-eighth; obviously there’s a few different skills involved in that position,” the captain said.
“But at the end of the day, his strength is his running – not so much his ball playing. It was the same when he was playing fullback so we’re not going to try and take that away from him at all.”
In a mirror preview of their March 3 clash at the Dogs’ Belmore home, the Storm will hold a little back in Hobart.
“I’m sure we will keep a few things up our sleeves,” Smith said.
“If we do have some set plays, it’s nothing these guys haven’t seen before and, if in two weeks’ time, if the same play comes about, the opposition still has to defend it.”
With four vacancies still up for grabs for season 2017, Saturday’s trial was another chance for the young and hopeful Dogs to show their form, captain James Graham said.
“There’s plenty of players banging down the door to cement those spots,” he said.
“There’s a couple of outside backs that I’m really looking forward to seeing how they go.
“Young Kerrod Holland, he had a little bit of a taste of (the) first team last year and went really well. And, I know that there’s obviously a spot a available there and, the way he’s trained, it looks like he wants to make it his.”