Smith set to return as Cronk needs time
The Melbourne Storm will be boosted by the inclusion of at least one of their Origin stars on Saturday night, as Cameron Smith looks likely to back up against the Panthers.
Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk both had a say in Queensland's 6-4 win over New South Wales in Origin I on Wednesday night and while Craig Bellamy is expecting his captain to take the field on Saturday, he's still unsure as to whether Cooper Cronk has recovered from an ankle injury suffered during Queensland's training camp.
"Cameron's come back and he looks like he's moving OK, so we'll see how he trains later today," Bellamy said.
"Unfortunately Cooper's got caught up in the fog this morning and he's just arrived, so he's just getting assessed at the moment. Until we get the report from the doctor and we get the OK, only then will we go and have a look at him out on the field.
"They are always keen to back up, they pride themselves on playing for their club after they play Origin, but it'd be hard to imagine Cooper playing to be quite honest.
"He'd be keen to play, and if he thinks he is right to play he'll be very persuasive, but I'll be going more on the doctor than what Cooper says."
There's good news on the injury front for the Storm as they're set to welcome back three outside backs this weekend in a bid to bolster their low backline depth.
Young Tonumaipea, Richie Kennar and Curtis Scott will all play this weekend, but Bellamy is yet to determine if they play first grade or come back through their feeder clubs on the Sunshine Coast.
"We've got Young coming back this week and Richie is as well, and young Curtis Scott is back, so we've got three outside backs playing again," Bellamy said. "None of those guys have played for a while, so we'll see how the Origin boys pull up first, but we might use Young tomorrow night.
"It'll be good to see them all play this weekend, and hopefully they can put a bit of pressure on those playing first grade so we can have some real competition there."
Melbourne will host Penrith on Saturday night at AAMI Park and while the Storm have a good record in previous years against the Panthers, Bellamy is taking nothing for granted.
"They're pretty predictable, but they're hard to handle. They do a lot of offloading and a lot of changing direction in their attacks, so if you don't defend well you're going to be in trouble," Bellamy said.
"They've got some really good players now, they've got guys that offload the ball a whole heap, so we'll have to be on our game."