Storm stars may miss chal­lenge

Townsville Bulletin - - SPORT - PAUL MALONE

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.’’

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