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: Digital Image by Robb Cox ©  :NYC Rugby League - St George Illawarra Dragons V Melbourne Storm at Jubilee Oval, Kogarah. Monday March 9th 2015.

The Thunderbolts received a welcome boost at Tuesday’s team selection with Ben Halfpenny named to make his long awaited return from injury this Saturday.

Halfpenny will play his first game in more than a year after suffering a knee injury in the early stages of last season.

Named in the No.13, coach Eric Smith admitted the 19-year-old was somewhat surprised to get the call-up during the week.

“To be honest I think he was a little bit shocked, I think he thought he might have to wait another week or so before he got his chance,” Smith said.

“He is really excited, I know how tough it has been for him to sit out and not be able to play last year and the start of this year.

“I know how much it means to him to get back on the field. I am really happy for him, he is a good kid.”

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Panthers, Saturday 4 June, 7:30pm.

Halfpenny is a member of the Thunderbolts’ leadership group and will look to lead from the front with his actions.

“He is the kind of guy that works really hard, he’s got a really good attitude and his rehab has been second to none,” Smith said.

“He treats his football and his body very seriously so I couldn’t be happier that he is back and ready to go with us.

“You know what you are going to get with Benny, you know he is going to put in 100%. We are really lucky to have him back on board, hopefully he can do a few things there for us through in the middle.”

The Thunderbolts will take on the third-placed Cowboys at Suzuki Stadium this Saturday at 2pm.

Storm Queensland-based members will be given free entry to the game ahead of the NRL Double Header at Suncorp Stadium.

Storm NYC Thunderbolts v North Queensland Cowboys
Saturday, May 12, 2pm
Suzuki Stadium

Acknowledgement of Country

Melbourne Storm respect and honour the Traditional Custodians of the land and pay our respects to their Elders past, present and future. We acknowledge the stories, traditions and living cultures of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples on the lands we meet, gather and play on.