Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has signalled his intention to manage the workload of stars Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk through the crucial State of Origin period, with the duo being left out of the Storm side for Saturday’s NRL clash with Penrith.
After the Storm were bundled out of the 2015 premiership race in a preliminary final loss to eventual premiers North Queensland, Bellamy said he would have to dramatically rethink his approach this season.
The move to install Kenny Bromwich at hooker for Smith and Tohu Harris at halfback for Cronk in Bellamy’s side announced on Tuesday for the Panthers round-13 clash appears to be just that.
Cronk and Smith will both play play for Queensland in Wednesday night’s Origin opener at ANZ Stadium in Sydney.
But it appears they will be rested for the match against Penrith just four days later.
The Storm have consistently struggled through the Origin period, given the demands placed on their representative stars Smith, Cronk and the injured Billy Slater.
The Storm sit behind only Cronulla on percentages on the NRL ladder and Bellamy has again managed to pull together a top-four contending side.
That is despite the loss of Slater to a season-ending shoulder problem, the exit of several crucial players from the Storm at the end of last season and some claims Cronk and Smith are getting too old to spearhead a premiership threat.