Kearney Misses Captains

Melbourne have made a habit of changing their captain mid-season but there was nothing amiss when New Zealand veteran Stephen Kearney failed to represent the club at a meeting of National Rugby League (NRL) play-off participants yesterday.

The Storm medical staff advised Kearney not to travel to Sydney and risk aggravating his long-term groin injury.

"We've got a short turn around this week and we're trying to cut down his travel time so we don't jeopardise his treatment," club spokesman James Avery said.

Prop Robbie Kearns filled in at a press conference and photo call with the premiership trophy at Aussie Stadium yesterday.

The prop started off last season as captain before he was controversially replaced by fellow-frontrower Rodney Howe.

Despite the injury Kearney, who took over the reins this year under new coach Craig Bellamy, will play in the opening qualifying final against Canberra on Friday night.