Young halves earn tick of approval
Between them they have played less than 80 games combined.
Cameron Munster (68) and Brodie Croft (8) have been thrown Melbourne’s playmaking keys this season and after just three weeks are beginning to show their potential.
The young halves pairing went up against the most accomplished No.6 and No.7 in the competition on Thursday night and came out on top.
Michael Morgan is the Australian and Queensland five-eighth and alongside him was arguably the greatest player of all time in Johnathan Thurston.
Munster and Croft likely spent much of their formative years with their eyes glued to the family TV, idolising every facet of Thurston’s play.
However when they time came to oppose him at the elite level, they were not overawed.
“I thought they were very good tonight,” Storm captain Cameron Smith said.
“We simplified things a lot for our team and for those two guys this week. That is where it needed to go off the back of our performance last week.
“It must have been a little bit daunting for Brodie coming up against Jonathan Thurston and Michael Morgan. It was a good test for him tonight and I thought he handled it well. He has only played seven matches of NRL, he is only new to it."
Croft made a couple of errors in the 80 minutes but there were some moments of brilliance, namely the no look pass to Billy Slater in the second half, that showed the 20-year-old was beginning to find his feet.
For a young halfback it is imperative that he has the necessary time to gel with the more experienced teammates around him.
Croft was not afforded that luxury over the summer, which has made his learning curve an even steeper one.
“With the World Cup being on he hardly did anything all pre-season with Cameron, Billy, Chambers, Felise and Munster because they were all in the Australian side,” Craig Bellamy said.
“If he’d had a full pre-season with them I’m sure he’d be more advanced than what he is with that combination stuff.
“It is a work in progress, we will keep working hard at it but we need to give it a bit of time because it is usually in pre-season you get that time to work on combinations but we didn’t have that luxury this year.”