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After finding himself in the shadow of Storm and Queensland sensation Billy Slater, Melbourne fullback Steve Turner is ready to take his chance against his former club Penrith, when the Storm hosts the Panthers at Olympic Park tomorrow night.
Before leaving Penrith to join the Storm over the off-season, Turner had found himself stuck behind the Panthers? first-choice fullback Rhys Wesser and made the move south in a bid for more first-grade action.
But as Slater?s star has continued to rise this year Turner has been forced to take on a different role for Melbourne, at times playing on the wing instead of his preferred fullback position.
With Slater missing Friday night?s match due to State of Origin duties, Turner has the opportunity to face his former cub and prove that he is more than a worthy backup for the Maroons winger.
?Bill and I are different players, he is a State of Origin player now but hopefully this week I can show a few people what I?m down here for,? Turner said.
?I don?t think there?s any pressure on me to fill Billy?s shoes, I?ve just got to play my own game and do the things that I know work well for me.?
Ironically is was against Melbourne that Turner made his first-grade debut for Penrith back in 2002, but the 19-year-old is now keen to show his former club just how much he has grown since that maiden NRL appearance.
?It will be good to show them (Panthers) how much I?ve developed over the past six to eight months and hopefully leave them feeling a bit disappointed that they let me go,? Turner added.
?It will be quite different playing against my old teammates but I?m really looking forward to it.?
The former Junior Kangaroo was unlucky to miss out on the Storm?s Round 5 clash with Penrith earlier this year after injuring his knee against Brisbane a week prior.
?When I got injured during the Broncos match I was shattered and was really disappointed to miss out on the match in Penrith - I had been looking forward to that game since the start of the season,? he said.
?It was hard watching the guys from the sidelines but I?ve got my chance this week so I?ll be making the most of it.
?I?m pretty excited about this match, it?s funny that my opportunity has come again this week but I can?t wait to get out there and play.?
Tomorrow?s match will be the first Friday night fixture at Olympic Park in nearly four years and represents the ideal chance for the Storm to build on its imposing night record.
Melbourne has won 19 of its past 23 night games and has an all-time record of 15-5 under lights at Olympic Park on a Friday night.
?I can?t remember the last time the Storm had a Friday night game in Melbourne but it should be a big game for the club itself and the Melbourne people,? Turner explained.
?With us and Penrith fighting it out for the top four hopefully we can get the points and be outright fourth and stay in that position for the rest of the season.?
The Panthers? record south of the border has been less than desirable in recent times, winning in Melbourne just once in five attempts. In the past two outings at Olympic Park Penrith has conceded a combined total of 84 points, the 42-16 hammering in 2002 being Turner?s NRL debut for the Panthers.
?It was pretty disappointing to make your NRL debut in a game like that but these things happen,? he added.
?Penrith?s record down here hasn?t been too crash hot over the past couple of years and hopefully we can continue that for them this week.?
The Storm will finalise preparations for Friday?s match with a training session on Olympic Park tonight from 5.30pm. For further information contact
James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]