Storm stars may miss challenge
MELBOURNE will make no apology if they think it is best to rest veterans Cameron Smith and Billy Slater from the World Club Challenge preseason match against Leeds at AAMI Park.
The Storm consented to playing in the annual clash between the NRL and Super League premiers, which has been played in Australia only twice before.
It will be played in Melbourne, rather than in England as is customary, on February 16, just 11 weeks after the World Cup final.
A strong Storm side will join Smith in a Melbourne- North Queensland trial on February 23 at Suncorp Stadium which is a testimonial for Smith, the retiring Johnathan Thurston and charities.
“If Cameron and Billy are OK to go by mid- February then they will play,’’ Storm football manager Frank Ponissi said.
“However we will work closely with Smithy and Billy on a pre- season plan and closer to the date we will assess their fitness with them to see if they are OK. While we are very keen to win the WCC, we also need to keep the whole season in mind – they are obviously very important to us.’’