Melbourne Storm has made headway this week with several players coming out of contract after centre Steven Bell re-signed today in a move that will keep him at Melbourne until the end of 2005.
Similarly Storm captain Stephen Kearney ? who plays his 100th game for the club against Parramatta this week - has decided not to exercise an option on his contract that allows him to leave at the end of the season, effectively keeping him in Storm colours until the end of next year.
With several other players coming off contract at season?s end including Scott Hill, Marcus Bai, Matt Geyer, Robbie Kearns, Peter Robinson, Kirk Reynoldson and Mitchell Sargent to name a few, Bell?s signing is a shot in the arm for Melbourne?s future.
?Melbourne Storm has really looked after me, they have done a lot to develop my game and I?m a big believer in repaying those people that show faith in you,? Bell said.
?I really enjoy the place and the people here and didn?t really want to look around.
?Now I can just get on with the job of playing football and I don?t have to worry about moving away from Melbourne.
?It would be good if everyone could remain at the club because there?s a very good bond here and we all want it to continue to grow.?
Geyer and Robinson are also close to re-signing with the Storm as the former looks to become the club?s first ever ten-year player in Melbourne.
Meanwhile halfback Matt Orford successfully negotiated this morning?s final training session before flying out to Parramatta for tomorrow?s match against the Eels.
The 25-year-old has been in doubt this week after partially dislocating his left kneecap during last week?s match against the Broncos, but proved his fitness in a short training session earlier today.
?I had a short run on Wednesday but didn?t really do too much so today was going to make or break my chances for Saturday,? Orford explained.
?I got through the session pretty comfortably so I?ll be right to play tomorrow and I?m confident the knee will hold up.?
Melbourne?s line-up remains unchanged for the match at Parramatta Stadium (5.30pm).
The Storm?s feeder club Brisbane Norths, will host a number of players returning from injury this Sunday.
Young prop Robert Tanielu will play his second game for the club after making a remarkable comeback last week from a serious neck injured suffered at the end of last season.
He will be joined by Tongan flyer Fifita Moala who is coming back from a knee reconstruction and Melbourne?s latest recruit Michael Crockett ? acquired this week from St George Illawarra ? will debut for Norths this week as the Devils take on Redcliffe.
The Storm team will visit Ronald McDonald House at Sydney?s Westmead Hospital this afternoon 2.45pm.
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