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3 days ago
Melbourne Storm coach Craig Bellamy will use his entire playing squad against the Brisbane Broncos this Saturday night at Toowoomba Stadium in the second of four pre-season trial matches.
Bellamy has named a massive 28-man squad ? effectively two teams ? in a bid to establish his premier 17 ahead of the Storm?s National Rugby League season opener in just over a month.
?The purpose of the exercise is to establish our best 17 players in preparation for four weeks time,? the former Brisbane assistant coach explained.
?Basically we have two teams, one for the first half and one for the second half, but those named in the starting side aren?t necessarily our top 13 players at the club.
?We just want to have a look at everyone as a way of working out who should be in our best 17.?
Melbourne?s run-on team, or team one, will be made up of some familiar names of players that Storm supporters haven?t seen a great deal of in recent times.
Names such as Ross, Hill and Howe will all take the field together for the first time since round one last year. They will be joined by the likes of skipper Stephen Kearney, halfback Matt Orford and centre Billy Slater, all of whom have spent the off-season nursing groin injuries.
?It will be good for a few of those players that haven?t had a chance to do much over the pre-season - they?ll be better for the run at the end of the night hopefully,? Bellamy added.
?Guys like Billy and Steve haven?t been able to do a great deal because of injury but this week and the next, should provide a good chance for them to have a run.?
With Hill?s return, last year?s makeshift five-eighth Matt Geyer returns to his customary position on the wing while Saturday night?s match will also be the first time recruits Alex Chan and Ben MacDougall pull on a Melbourne jersey since joining the Storm over the summer.
Veteran prop Robbie Kearns will be rested this weekend and youngsters Cooper Cronk and Sione Finefeuiaki will line-up for Brisbane Norths against the Toowoomba Clydesdales in the evening?s curtain raiser.
STORM SIDE TO PLAY THE BRISBANE BRONCOS, SATURDAY FEBRUARY 21, TOOWOOMBA STADIUM AT 7.30PM:
1. Robbie Ross 2. Matt Geyer 3. Billy Slater 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Matt King 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Alex Chan 9. Cameron Smith 10. Rodney Howe 11. Kirk Reynoldson 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Glen Turner 14. Brett O?Farrell 15. Nathan Friend 16. Robert Tanielu 17. Peter Robinson 18. David Kidwell 19. Dallas Johnson 20. Fifita Moala 21. Jake Webster 22. Steve Turner 23. Dustin Cooper 24. Luke Dyer 25. Danny Williams 26. Ryan Hoffman 27. Antonio Kaufusi 28. Andrew McFadden