Storm deny
News Ltd influence to sway Orford

Rumours that Melbourne has enlisted the help of News Limited chairman Lachlan Murdoch to retain off-contract halfback Matt Orford have been dismissed by the Storm.

But Melbourne chief executive Brian Waldron says that is all he can clear up over the on-going contract negotiations with the Storm playmaker that have dragged on for another day.

Speculation was rife that Murdoch would be used as Melbourne's trump card to keep the off-contract halfback, who is also being wooed by a cashed-up South Sydney and favourite Manly. But Waldron says tongues were wagging after the Storm boss arrived at a News Ltd meeting in Sydney yesterday following Murdoch's surprise appearance in the Melbourne dressing sheds at Brisbane yesterday.

Waldron says he does not expect an announcement from the halfback until at least today.

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