Storm coach Craig Bellamy has asked for his younger forwards to stand up after pack leader Jesse Bromwich suffered a nasty thumb injury in the team's 12-6 win at Belmore on Friday night.
Bromwich joins fellow Kiwi international Tohu Harris (foot) on the sidelines, which combined with Kevin Proctor's departure to the Titans at the end of 2016 suddenly leaves the usually imposing Storm forward pack looking somewhat understaffed.
New Zealand skipper Bromwich came straight from the field in the 10th minute against Canterbury and did not return, indicating he knew immediately the injury was serious. Bellamy later revealed the prop saw bone protruding through his skin.
"It is a big blow, huge. He didn't even hesitate to come off," Bellamy said at his post-match press conference.
"As soon as he was in the tackle, and it was a pretty innocuous tackle it didn't look like anything, but all of a sudden he was headed for the sideline which is not like him at all so he knew he'd done some bad damage.
"He's dislocated it – I don't know whether he's busted it or not but he's dislocated it, it's come through the skin so he's obviously looked down – I think he actually put his hand and felt the bone sticking out with his thumb sort of drooping down, that's why he knew there was something wrong so I imagine that's going to be a fair few weeks."
The early loss of Bromwich made the Storm's win – in pouring rain and starved of possession – all the more impressive.
Starting back-rowers Kenny Bromwich and Felise Kaufusi – bench players in 2016 and only a fringe first grader in Kaufusi's case – got through 70 and 80 minutes respectively. Bench props Tim Glasby and Christan Welch and starting prop Jordan McLean all had big spells as well.
"[Jesse Bromwich] is a real spearhead for us; we consider him the best front-rower in the game so to lose him so early is a big thing," Bellamy said.
"To have some of them young blokes come off, they had to play longer minutes tonight and I thought they did a pretty good job. They'll need to back that up the next few weeks because he'll be missing for a while I think.
"Those guys that stood up tonight, they're going to have to stand up every week and it's a real test for them because they really haven't done that consistently over any period of time. We'll need them to do that in the coming weeks."