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Storm ponder Munster switch to thwart Roosters

Melbourne are prepared to switch fullback-at-heart Cameron Munster into the No.1 jersey and potentially throw out the club's playmaking succession plan to thwart a host of suitors, including grand final opponents the Roosters.

Munster was named the Dally M five-eighth of 2018 on Wednesday night and will be gunning for his second title in the No.6 jumper before sorting out the most talked about future in the game.

The 24-year-old is expected to command in excess of $1 million a season as the Storm pull out all the stops to retain him and the Roosters lead the interest from several rivals including Parramatta, Cronulla and the Cowboys.

Munster was viewed as the long-term successor to Billy Slater when he first burst onto the scene, but has since risen to Test and Origin honours as a five-eighth.

The Storm have since looked to promising youngsters Jahrome Hughes and Scott Drinkwater to fill the iconic purple No.1 jersey, but NRL.com understands that Craig Bellamy is willing to reconsider his playmaking plan if it proves to critical to keeping Munster.

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Speaking ahead of his third-straight grand final appearance, in which he is among the bookies' favourites for Clive Churchill Medal honours, Munster conceded he was torn on his positional future and wanted to consult with Bellamy and his staff.

"It's a tough one but it's something in my heart I really want to play as No. 1," Munster said.

"At the moment I'm not a selfish player, and I'm more than happy to play wherever the coach and club want to play me.

"If it's No.6 that means No.6. I don't want confrontation with anyone and I hate drama, but it's a chat I'll need to have and an honest chat I'll have to have with the coaching staff.

"But I'm not too focused on that at the moment, that's next year. I'm focused on getting the job done this weekend."

Munster will once again slot into the scrumbase at rep level after the grand final, with Daly Cherry-Evans his expected halves partner for Australia's end of season Tests against New Zealand and Tonga.

But the glut of quality fullbacks at the highest level, including Roosters counterpart James Tedesco, could also influence Munster's thinking.

"That's my favourite position, but it's hard for myself because I played Origin at five-eighth this year, I played for Australia at the World Cup at five-eighth," he said.

"It's tough because if I go back to square one at fullback, I've got the likes of Val Holmes, [James] Tedesco, Kalyn Ponga playing fullback.

"There are a few players there and it will be tough to try and challenge them for that jersey."

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Munster is officially able to field rival offers from November 1, while he and the Storm have put contract talks on hold throughout the finals series.

Melbourne remain confident they will hang onto the Rockhampton junior they see as the marquee player to build their post-Big Three era around. A three or four-year extension is expected to be tabled accordingly.

For the moment though Munster's focus is on Sunday's grand final showdown and Kangaroos commitments, with plans to resume negotiations after an off-season holiday in October.

"There's a lot of talk at the moment. I'm only focused on Sunday," Munster said.

"I'll go away for four weeks after footy and recuperate, get the body right for next year, then have a chat to Melbourne and whoever decides to be interested in me.

"I'm just worried about the win and sending Billy out as a champion".

 

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