Melbourne Storm have today announced their 25-man squad that will play Saturday’s trial against Wests Tigers at Sunshine Coast Stadium.
The match will be crucial to the Club’s Round 1 preparations as players look to earn their spot in the team for Storm’s season opener against the Dragons on March 7.
Eleven players from last week’s Auckland Nines team have been named, alongside off-season recruits Cheyse Blair, Jeremy Hawkins, Matt White and Mark Nicholls -who have been named in starting positions for their Storm debut.
The remaining players in Storm’s NRL squad who are not playing the All Stars game will also be travelling with the team up to the Sunshine Coast.
Billy Slater will be joined by Storm teammates including Cooper Cronk, Jesse Bromwich, Marika Koroibete to host Billy’s Buddies clinic for nearly 300 kids.
A full day of rugby league action will then follow on Saturday with Storm’s trial against Wests Tigers marking the first time rugby league will return to the region in seven years.
“There are a couple of positions in our 17 for Round 1 that are really wide open and this weekend certainly goes a long way in helping Craig and his coaches select that,” Storm football director Frank Ponissi said.
“There’s probably 9-10 forwards on the weekend playing for potentially a bench or starting spot in the pack, they are all in contention.
“At times last year our lack of depth probably hurt us but this year to have that many ready to go at this time of year is huge.
“There’s a lot of blokes playing their first game of the year and they are just itching to get out there, they are going to be hitting at 100 miles an hour.”
Also playing for Storm on Saturday will be Easts Tigers Michael Kai and Billy Walters as well as Nafe Seluini and Matt Grieve from the Sunshine Coast Falcons.
All four players spent between 4-6 weeks training over the pre-season with Storm’s NRL squad as apart of a program helping to provide local talent with a pathway into the NRL system.
Fans are still able to purchase tickets to see the Storm in action. Click here for more details.
Melbourne Storm v Wests Tigers
Saturday, 13 February, 5.15pm (Qld time)
Sunshine Coast Stadium
1. Tony Tumusa
2. Richie Kennar
3. Cheyse Blair
4. Curtis Scott
5. Jeremy Hawkins
6. Scott Drinkwater
7. Brodie Croft
8. Matt White
9. Nafe Seluini (Falcons)
10. Christian Welch
11. Felise Kaufusi
12. Kenny Bromwich (c)
13. Mark Nicholls
14. Ben Hampton
15. Tim Glasby
16. Dean Britt
17. Jordan McLean
18. Joe Stimson
19. Nelson Asofa-Solomona
20. Francis Tualau
21. Young Tonumaipea
22. Michael Kai (Easts)
23. Matt Grieve (Falcons)
24. Jake Turpin
25. Billy Walters (Easts)
Also on Saturday...
2:30pm - Melbourne Storm U20s v Easts Tigers
3:15pm - Sunshine Coast Falcons v Easts Tigers
4:00pm - Melbourne Storm U20s v Sunshine Coast Falcons