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Wind back the clock 12 months and it was Cooper Cronk owning the clutch moments in big games for Melbourne.

But Cronk is trying to win a premiership with the Sydney Roosters in 2018. So with the game in the balance in Friday night's preliminary final against the Rabbitohs, Cameron Munster wanted the ball in his hands.

"It was an opportunity for me to kick the field goal," the Storm five-eighth said of his late-game heroics.

"It was a quick play of the ball and I had heaps of time to kick it. I was just yelling out to Smithy [Storm captain Cameron Smith], who hit me [with the ball], [I] struck it, and was just lucky enough that it went over."

Munster's star has steadily risen over the past 18 months. He grabbed the limelight at Origin and Test level and has become the kind of marquee player whom Melbourne can build the club around when decorated veterans Smith and Billy Slater depart.

And with a bevy of young halves partners - Ryley Jacks, Jahrome Hughes and Brodie Croft - Munster instinctively takes control in crunch time.

His 76th-minute field goal was only the second of his NRL career but Munster doesn't sound like a man easily flustered or overawed in key moments.

Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster kicks the match-winning field goal against Rabbitohs.
Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster kicks the match-winning field goal against Rabbitohs. ©Nathan Hopkins/NRL Photos

"When you're in a side with Cooper Cronk, you don't need to kick too many field goals," the 23-year-old said.

"When you've got him around, he's clutching everything he does and knows when he wants the ball."

Storm skipper Cameron Smith praised Munster's increasing maturity and it's something the young playmaker understands he has to become even more of a leader when their senior players move on.

"They're not going to be around forever," Munster said.

"Us young blokes need to step up and take the mantle off them. It starts this year. We know Bill's leaving, so we know we need to step up.

"It's going to be hard for us. Losing Bill this year, Coops last year, and most likely Smith next year after the year. They're obviously slowly fading away, and us young blokes coming through need to slowly back ourselves."

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