You have skipped the navigation, tab for page content
Competition - NRL
Round - 14
Teams – Roosters V Storm
Date – 11th of June 2016
Venue – Allianz Stadium
Photographer – Robb Cox

Sometimes all it takes in rugby league is an opportunity.

From the side that took on the Dragons in Round 1, only two members of the backline remain, and only one of them is in the same position. 

The Storm have lost Billy Slater (shoulder) for the season, Will Chambers (foot) has been out since Round 6 and Young Tonumaipea (knee) hasn't played first-grade since Anzac Day. 

Cameron Munster – who was a late inclusion for the season opener – has shifted from centre to fullback while Marika Koroibete is the lone survivor on the wing. 

With chopping and changing becoming an all too common – and with the bulk of their backline options sidelined – the Storm turned to two of their newest recruits to do the job in the backs.

Suliasi Vunivalu has been the headline-grabbing star of 2016 with 11 tries in seven games including a hat-trick in his side's 46-0 rout of the Roosters on Saturday night, but it's been the form of centres Ryan Morgan and Cheyse Blair that has pleased Storm coach Craig Bellamy the most. 

Blair joined the club at the start of the season from the Sea Eagles but didn't make his debut until Round 9 while Morgan only arrived in Melbourne days before the clash against former side the Parramatta Eels in Round 11. 

Be at AAMI Park when we take on the Tigers, Sunday 26 June, 4pm.

"If someone said at the start of the year that these guys are going to be your centres in Round 13 or 14, I'd be thinking you didn't know what you were talking about," Bellamy said after the game. 

"'Morgs' hasn't been here too long. He came from Parramatta about four weeks ago and really the only reason he got a start so early was because of injuries. 

"Cheyse was basically the same. He played the first seven or eight games with our Queensland feeder team (Easts Tigers). 

"With the injuries that we've had, we've had to find someone and they've done a tremendous job."

Initially picked out of necessity, the pair are now firmly entrenched in Craig Bellamy's final 17 and will be difficult to replace even when the injured brigade are fit to return.

Both had terrific games against the Roosters with Morgan throwing the final pass for the first two tries, while Blair crossed for the opening try in the second half to effectively seal the result.  

"While they keep doing a good job for us they'll stay in the team," the Storm coach declared. 

"I thought Cheyse was really good tonight and Ryan just started the game off so well. We were heading down our right hand side a lot and the Roosters seemed to be having a few problems with their left hand defence and he was a big part of that. 

"The timing of his runs [was impressive] and [he was] getting into position really well, so he just seems like he's picked it up really well. 

"Those guys have settled really well into our club. They embrace what we're about down there off the field and they're doing a really good job on the field at the moment."

It's not just the emergence of talent in the outside backs that has impressed Bellamy, with the Storm mentor praising the entire extended squad for their team-first attitude. 

The premiership-winning coach singled out former Gold Coast Titan Matt White as one of the new players in the side who had impressed him the most. 

"This year we've got a really good group – not just the 17 that played tonight – but the other 13 or 14 that are in the squad. They're just really embraced what we're about down there," the proud coach said. 

"I can't remember the last time we've had as good a group off the field. There are a lot of guys playing really well with our feeder teams who just can't get a run at the moment. 

"Matt White, I don't know how many times he's been the 18th man and he's doing a great job playing with Easts up in the QLD Cup. He's an experienced first grader but he just can't seem to get a run at the moment. 

"While he's disappointed with that, he just keeps plugging away and he knows at some stage he'll get his chance. He sort of typifies the rest of the group in that we're all about the team."

The 153-game veteran can't break into the NRL side because the rest of the pack has been in blistering form. 

The Storm outran their opponents by 865 metres on Saturday night to lay the platform for the backs to attack with the load shared amongst all the big men.

Leader of the pack Jesse Bromwich said the forwards knew they would be in for a challenge against a side boasting six internationals. 

"We spoke about it during the week and I thought our boys played really well in the middle," he said.

"I can't give them enough praise for how they've been going lately. During training they've been training really well and I thought they all played well tonight. I can't single anyone out because I think the whole forward pack did a great job."

This article first appeared on

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.

Major Partner

Premium Partners

Official Partners

View All Partners