Good news for Storm on Smith's back injury
Melbourne have received positive news on captain Cameron Smith's back injury and haven't ruled him out of next week's round 24 clash with the Titans.
Smith was hurt in a tackle from Parramatta pair Tepai Moeroa and Nathan Brown during Friday night's game at AAMI Park. The sight would have caused concern for all Melbourne fans.
On Saturday the Storm updated Smith's condition on the club's official website, in addition to the status of his injured teammates Suliasi Vunivalu, Nelson Asofa-Solomona and Brandon Smith.
He will be assessed again on Monday and monitored closely during the week. The report said Smith "is a chance of playing next Saturday against the Gold Coast Titans".
Suliasi (hamstring), Asofa-Solomona (ankle) and Brandon Smith (knee) are all likely to sit out the final two games of the regular season and return for Melbourne's finals campaign.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy was cautiously optimistic when discussing the back injury that forced Smith to miss the final 46 minutes of his side's 20-4 win over the Eels on Friday night.
A reserved Bellamy said it was hoped his star hooker hadn't sustained any serious injuries.
"Cameron just had a spasm in joints in his back which he's had before," Bellamy said.
"I don't know if there will be X-rays or anti-inflammatories. I don't think it's anything too serious but how serious is, I don't know, especially with backs."
Smith wasn't alone in requiring treatment from the Storm medical staff. Bellamy wasn't as optimistic when it came to a couple of his forwards.
"Nelson and Brandon will be out for a fair chunk of time," he said.
"Nelson's could be more of a syndesmosis injury but until they scan it they won't know what the actual damage is. Brandon hurt his knee and it looks like he'll miss a fair chunk of time too."
The decision not to send winger Suliasi Vunivalu out for the second half was based on advice from medical staff.
"Suli just hurt his hamstring and it wasn't too bad but we weren't prepared to put him back out there for the second half," Bellamy said.
"Our physio said it would only get worse and if he tears it, then that's a six-week injury. We're thinking he will miss a week or two but it won't be long term like the other two."
After having questioned his side's hunger following last week's loss to Cronulla, Bellamy was far happier with what he saw against the Eels.
"I thought it was really gutsy tonight," said Bellamy. "I questioned our hunger last week. By hunger, I mean getting in and rolling your sleeves up.
"We had a look at ourselves and questioned our hunger. I certainly can't question our hunger tonight. To go through what they did and get a good win, that's a huge effort with what happened tonight.
"We had two replacements at halftime and had no replacements left to put on for the last 20 minutes at the end of the game, and then we had another in the bin.
"I was rapt. I was really proud of the effort they put in. it wasn't a great night for us injury wise. There's a few guys who are going to miss time and it's a not great at this time of the year but I couldn't be prouder of what they put out there tonight."
Storm fullback Billy Slater shared his coach's pleasure.
"It was an amazing effort and performance," Slater said.
"The Eels are a much better side than where they're sitting on the ladder [in last place]. You saw what they did to St George [Illawarra] last week and to keep them to only one try scored off a freakish kick and freakish effort, I think it was an amazing effort off the back of some challenges that Craig put in front of us last week."
Bellamy said utility Jahrome Hughes – who was ruled out against the Eels – could be out for another week.