Storm preparing to face Thurston
Craig Bellamy and the Melbourne Storm remain unsure about Johnathan Thurston's fitness ahead of Saturday's clash in Townsville, but Bellamy said his players will prepare as if the mercurial Cowboys halfback is playing.
"I don't think anyone is 100 per cent sure whether or not JT is going to be playing on Saturday night," Bellamy said.
"I think from all reports Paul Green was a little bit coy on how long he'd be out for or what the injury is, so we're half preparing for him that he might play.
"He's obviously a huge loss, same for any team when you lose your halfback, but one the quality of him is just a little extra. Having said that though, they've got a lot of good players in that team, a lot of rep players, so they'll obviously miss him without a doubt but they've got some other good players that'll pick up the slack."
Regardless of Thurston's involvement on Saturday night, Bellamy believes the trip to North Queensland remains the toughest away trip in the league.
"It's probably the toughest test in the competition at the moment, going to Townsville to play the Cowboys," Bellamy said.
"You'd think that on paper, they are the team to beat. They've basically got the same squad that they had last year that won them the grand final and they haven't had too many injuries this year, so you'd think they are the team to beat."
The Storm also have their own star player concerns, with Cameron Smith and Cooper Cronk still in need of a rest according to the coach.
Both Smith and Cronk haven't trained regularly with the Storm since the Origin period began, and while Bellamy hasn't decided which weekend he'll rest his Queensland stars, he knows he wants to give them a break before the season ends.
"We want to try and be sensible with it, we don't want to just give them a week off for the sake of it," Bellamy said.
"We've given them a whole heap of time off from training especially through Origin so they've had plenty of time off there.
"For me it'd be ideal to give them a game off, and I've got one in mind, but it'll be down to how we're going at that stage and where we're at, and also we'll certainly take their opinion into account as well."