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Rugby-bound Vunivalu out to make final Storm season count

There will be no slacking off for Suliasi Vunivalu in his final season in the NRL with the rugby union-bound Melbourne Storm winger declaring it's business as usual for him this campaign.

Vunivalu has already indicated that 2020 will be his swansong at the Storm and in the 13-man game, with a lucrative Super Rugby deal with the Queensland Reds on the table for the towering winger for 2021 and beyond.

The decision to move to union was a tough one for Vunivalu, but the 24-year-old said it was a move that was always on the cards after he grew up playing the game in Fiji.

"It was a hard decision to make, as I have been here [in Melbourne] for six years," Vunivalu said.

"But I had to do what was best for me and my family.

"I was brought up with a union background, so I was always going to go back to rugby.

"It just happened earlier than I thought."

Vunivalu isn't the only Storm star set to depart at the end of the season, with fellow winger Josh Addo-Carr also seeking a move north to be closer to family in Sydney.

Vunivalu said he wasn't shocked to hear Addo-Carr's request, but knows the Indigenous star is just as committed as he to the Storm's cause this season.

"The focus this year is with the Storm and nothing else," Vunivalu said.

"We have got our final year and we want to make the most of it."

Vunivalu looked to be in good touch at training at Goschs Paddock in Melbourne on Thursday ahead of the Storm's final trial match of the pre-season against the Cowboys at Casey Fields this weekend.

Veteran coach Craig Bellamy has named a near full strength Storm squad for the hit-out, with Brandon Smith (face), Christian Welch (knee) and Nelson Asofa-Solomona (hamstring) the most notable absentees.

Asofa-Solomona did some running drills away from the main group on Thursday and is expected to be fit for the Storm's opening round clash against the Sea Eagles next month, while club medical staff will be extra cautious with Welch as he returns from a serious knee injury.

Smith is likely to miss the opening rounds of the new season, meaning inexperienced hooker Harry Grant may get the chance to fill in for the Kiwi in the No.14 jersey.

Grant has been the focus of a proposed player swap to the Tigers for centre Paul Momirovski in recent weeks, but the latest injury to Smith means that move is unlikely to eventuate.

"We have good depth at hooker with Cameron Smith, Brandon Smith and Harry Grant," Vunivalu noted.

"It will be good for Harry as he will get a crack [in the team] and I am looking forward to watching him play."

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.