Storm fans would have walked away from Friday night’s game smiling for reasons beyond the result.
The 40-12 score line was no doubt please however it was the glimpse at the future they were given that would have left them chuffed.
After making 41 tackles in Origin only two night ago, Cameron Smith was forced to withdraw from Storm’s game against the Knights.
That paved the way for Slade Griffin to make his NRL return and Brandon Smith to earn a debut call up.
Both youngsters looked right at home during the 41 minutes they played a piece.
“The two young hookers worked really hard during the time that the Origin boys have been away. They did a really good job,” Craig Bellamy said.
With the Origin period now underway it is inevitable that Melbourne will have to do without their representative players at some point.
However the performance of Griffin (27 tackles) and Smith (one line break and one try), means there is plenty of depth for the Storm coaching staff to turn to.
As there was on Friday night, the young pair are likely to again form a one-two punch at the hooker position.
“We will probably look to play with both of them,” Craig Bellamy said.
“With Brandon, it was his first game tonight. Slade hasn’t played a lot of footy this year too. I don’t think they’ve got 80 minute of NRL in them so we will be looking at playing both of them.
“There is no problem with having them both on the field either, they can both fill that middle spot pretty easily. They are aggressive, good defenders and they will run the ball away from dummy half as well.
“We lose our players for the next two Origins so both those guys will be in the team.”