MUN­STER OUT A MON­STER BLOW

Cow­boys spurred on by Mel­bourne’s mis­for­tune

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - JON TUX­WORTH jonathon. tux­worth@ news. com. au

MEL­BOURNE’S “big three” en­joy most of the plau­dits but Dal­las Johnson be­lieves the po­ten­tial loss of Cameron Mun­ster would be a huge legup for North Queens­land as his two for­mer teams ready for bat­tle in Townsville.

Mun­ster has been in spec­tac­u­lar form all sea­son and was re­warded with a Queens­land de­but, out­stand­ing at fiveeighth in the Ma­roons’ se­ries­de­cid­ing win in game three.

But the 22- year- old is in doubt for Fri­day night’s block­buster clash with the Cow­boys af­ter twing­ing his an­kle in the Storm’s 40- 6 belt­ing of Manly on Sun­day af­ter­noon.

The five- day turn­around will not help Mun­ster, who pro­vides the Storm an X- fac­tor that com­ple­ments the class of Cameron Smith, Billy Slater and Cooper Cronk in the NRL ladder- leader’s spine.

“He most def­i­nitely is their X- fac­tor,” Johnson said.

“Ev­ery­one thought when he was play­ing at full­back he was awe­some and it may be re­miss to play him at five- eighth, but he’s taken that re­ally well.

“He’s build­ing con­fi­dence off Ori­gin as well. To play that well on de­but shows he’s go­ing to be around a fair while.”

If Mun­ster did play against North Queens­land, it would set up an in­trigu­ing bat­tle with Michael Morgan af­ter he was given the nod to play fiveeighth over the Cow­boys play­maker in Ori­gin III, with Morgan play­ing cen­tre.

But Storm coach Craig Bel­lamy said Mun­ster was in ex­treme doubt af­ter Mel­bourne’s win over the Sea Ea­gles.

“I’m not quite sure how bad it is but I’m think­ing for him to get treated a cou­ple of times on there then it must be pretty bad,” Bel­lamy said.

“He is tough. If it was nearly any­one else they would have gone off but he is a tough kid.

“I would imag­ine there is a bit of dam­age there. I’m no med­i­cal per­son, but for him to fin­ish the game – most peo­ple in this game wouldn’t.

“I couldn’t see him play­ing next week but he is a tough kid. There’s ob­vi­ously an is­sue there.”

Smith said he had no­ticed sim­i­lar­i­ties in the cur­rent Storm crop to the 2007 grand fi­nal- win­ning team, a premier­ship even­tu­ally stripped due to salary cap breaches.

“It’s quite a sim­i­lar team, ( in 2007) we had some older se­nior play­ers guid­ing the team around but the oth­ers were kids with a lot of en­thu­si­asm, that’s what we’ve got here at the mo­ment,” Smith said.

“The one thing that side was they were tough, they were ruth­less in how they played their foot­ball.

“I can see that in this team, there’s no doubt, ( but) we’ve got a way to go be­fore we can p play like that ’ 07 team did.

“( Against Manly) it was a great vic­tory and we scored a fair few points, but I don’t t think we played our best footb ball for the 80 min­utes.”

MAIN MAN: For­mer Storm and Cow­boys star Dal­las Johnson ( in­set) be­lieves the loss of Cameron Mun­ster ( main) would be a huge boost for North Queens­land on Fri­day night.

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