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‘Both of them are pushing it’: Doubts over star Storm duo for Manly clash

“I think both of them are pushing the clock, to be honest. Hopefully they’re [right] for the game, but I’m confident in the depth we’ve got in the squad. [Munster] will be doing everything to play, he’ll be desperate to play.

“It’s such an important game the first week of the finals and the benefits of winning that and having a week off, it’s such a physically demanding season it’s really important to get that week off. The teams that had the week off [last year] just had enough juice to get over the line in prelims.”

I think both of them are pushing the clock, to be honest. Hopefully they’re [right] for the game, but I’m confident in the depth we’ve got

Christian Welch

Bellamy has the luxury of leaving Nicho Hynes in the halves alongside Jahrome Hughes should Munster fail to come up, while outside backs Dean Ieremia and Isaac Lumelume loom as alternatives on the wing for Addo-Carr.

The Storm found a way to stifle Dally M favourite Trbojevic’s impact in last month’s 28-18 win, the only time the Sea Eagles have lost in their last eight matches.

Hooker Brandon Smith admitted into the lead-up in that match his side had never done as much individual work on one player, a sentiment sure to be repeated after Trbojevic’s remarkable three-try performance against the Cowboys which secured them a double chance in the finals.

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“I suppose everyone loves talking about him, but we’re talking about him for a reason … he’s having a phenomenal year,” Welch said. “I think we’ll be watching plenty of him.

“He’s such a powerful body. It’s red alert whenever he’s got the ball, it’s the responsibility of our whole team, I suppose our wingers and centres to work out where he is and call him out.”

The Knights are hopeful David Klemmer will overcome a painful rib cartilage problem in time for their clash against the Eels at Rockhampton on Sunday. The former State of Origin prop suffered the injury in Newcastle’s final round loss to the Broncos.

The NRL is expected to confirm this week the grand final will be played at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium, the first outside of Sydney in the code’s history. A regional Queensland venue is also expected to be included in the week two finals schedule.

“I can’t wait for the series to start,” NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo said. “Clearly Melbourne and Penrith have been outstanding through the regular season, but we saw only a week ago that Parramatta defeated the Storm – a number of teams have found form at the right time of the year to set up the series perfectly.”

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