The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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On the verge of equalling the record for the most premiership appearances by a New Zealander, Storm skipper Stephen Kearney says he is humbled to be overtaking the man he idolised as a youngster.
Kearney will equal the 18-year-old record held by former Cronulla and Easts forward Dane Sorenson this Sunday against the Rabbitohs at Aussie Stadium.
?Growing up as a young fella Dane Sorenson was a hero and an idol of mine so to equal his record of games played by a kiwi is a huge honour,? Kearney said.
?It is something you don?t really set out to achieve when you start playing but I?m quite humbled to have reached this milestone - it?s a nice record to have.?
The Storm front-rower has rarely endured a form slump in a career spanning more than a decade, three NRL clubs and 43 Tests for New Zealand.
?When you play 11 seasons and more so when you get to the age that I?m at, you get to a point where hopefully those sort of milestones come up otherwise you wouldn?t have been doing much,? Kearney joked.
The 31-year-old?s mind will be on other matters come Sunday afternoon as Melbourne shoots for its third away win of the season.
With veteran Robbie Kearns out of the side on Origin duty and the disappointment of last week?s loss to the Roosters still lingering, Kearney is keen to make amens and maintain the Storm?s unbeaten record over Souths this week.
?Robbie has certainly been the biggest contributor in terms of what he?s been bringing to our performance in the last couple of months,? the 30-year-old former kiwi captain added.
?From my perspective I?m a little disappointed with my performance from last week so it?s more a matter of what I can provide for the team this time round against Souths."
?I think collectively as a forward group we all have to take up some slack because I think he (Kearns) will be missed at stages out there.?
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK Saturday: 9.30am, Olympic Park