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Melbourne Storm centre Junior Langi is set to return from an ongoing shoulder injury for this weekend?s clash against the Cowboys at Dairy Farmers Stadium (7.30pm).
After straining the rotator cuff in his right shoulder during pre-season training, Langi has spent the opening six rounds on the sidelines and is one of several changes to the Melbourne side that narrowly lost to the Sea Eagles last week.
Former Kiwi international David Kidwell will reprise last week?s starting role at lock and 19-year-old Ryan Hoffman will play his second NRL match from the bench after debuting for Melbourne last week.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy conceded Langi?s lack of match fitness is of some concern but underlined the club?s personnel shortage in the wake of an incessant injury toll.
?Obviously it?s a worry that he (Langi) hasn?t played a game this year, especially seeing as we?ll be in Townsville (this week), but he?s very confident he can do the job which is encouraging,? Bellamy said.
?We don?t really have too many other options there with the injuries we?re carrying.?
Despite being named at halfback last week Smith was replaced at the last minute by Marty Turner, however Bellamy has opted for the more senior of the two teenagers for this week?s clash against the Cowboys.
?Marty just seemed a little bit overawed with things last week but at the same time I don?t think he got a lot of help from some of the players around him,? Bellamy explained.
?We probably need someone that?s a little bit more dominant in that position.?
While this week?s team selection has left one Turner out of the side, brother Glen will line-up on the bench for his first game in Storm colours since debuting in 2000.
Turner played three games in his debut year before missing the 2001 season after tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. He was also sidelined last year with to an ongoing groin injury, managing just five games for Norths.
?Glen has been really good at training and very enthusiastic,? Bellamy offered.
?He hasn?t played for a couple of weeks but being in the situation we are in we?ll give him a chance and I don?t think he?ll let us down.?
Aaron Moule has not been named in the squad.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY NTH QLD, THIS SATURDAY AT DAIRY FARMERS STADIUM, 7.30PM
1. Robbie Ross 2. Matt Geyer 3. Junior Langi 4. Billy Slater 5. Marcus Bai 6. Scott Hill 7. Cameron Smith 8. Robbie Kearns 9. Danny Williams 10. Mitchell Sargent 11. Peter Robinson 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. David Kidwell
IN: Junior Langi, Glen Turner OUT: Marty Turner, Semi Tadulala
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK: Wednesday: 9.30am, Olympic Park Friday: 5.30pm, Townsville (TBA)
For further information contact
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]