Melbourne are likely to lose Nelson Asofa-Solomona for their tough NRL trip to Brisbane next Friday after the barn-storming forward injured his knee in their win over West Tigers.
And the Storm are also no certainty to have injured key playmakers Blake Green and Cameron Munster, who missed their second straight matches with calf and ankle injuries respectively.
Asofa-Solomona has proved to be a weapon for the Storm off the bench, using his hulking 122kg, 200cm frame to steam-roll tiring defence.
He made five runs and 18 tackles before injuring his knee minutes into the second half at AAMI Park, with the Storm unsure of the severity.
There are fears it could leave the 20-year-old sidelined for a number of weeks as Melbourne build into their finals campaign.
That would be a blow for both Asofa-Solomona, who has worked hard on his fitness, and the Storm, who are hopeful of announcing his re-signing early next month, blocking a bid by New Zealand Super Rugby side the Hurricanes to lure the young Kiwi back to rugby.
“He has hurt his knee, but I’m hearing a few differing opinions as to whether he’s going to be out or not,” coach Craig Bellamy said.
Tohu Harris covered Green at five-eighth in the 29-20 win, while Young Tonumaipea played fullback, and while the two played well, the Storm missed the organisational skills of Green and penetration of rising star Munster.
Bellamy said he had thought they would be fit for the Tigers, so wasn’t sure if they would be ready for the trip north.
“They’re probably not as good as we thought, or hoped they would be, and with a five-day turnaround, we’re probably more hopeful than confident, I’d say, but we’d love to have them back.”