The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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Fullback Robbie Ross will miss an additional week with a strained hamstring but Aaron Moule will maintain his place in the centres despite battling a groin injury after last weeks 40-30 win over the Cowboys.
Ross will be forced to wait another week before returning from the injury he incurred in round 21 against the Brisbane Broncos.
Moule - the Storm's leading try scorer this season - has been carrying the groin injury for a month but early progress this week has suggested he won't be forced to miss the Storm's last home game of the season.
“He (Moule) has got a ongoing problem there that needs maintenance, he's carried it pretty well the last few weeks and at this stage he'll play,” explained Storm coach mark Murray. Murray believes the win over the Cowboys suggests Melbourne could be back on track but conceded the club will need to work on its defence after conceding several late tries in Townsville.
“I think it was a step to getting us back to our best football and I don't think we're there yet, but defence is the main area we need to improve on against some of the stronger opposition,” Murray said.
The Storm will be looking to make its last home game of the year a successful one with the disappointment of the disastrous 16-36 loss to the Panthers in round 20 still fresh in the player's mind's.
“It was a pretty disappointing day when we played Penrith last, we went up there expecting to win and ended up getting a bit of a touch up so I'm sure that will be on our minds when we get to the end of this week,” Murray said.
“We have had some good results at home but they (Penriths) are playing some reasonable football and they'll be nice and fresh off the bye.
“It will be a tough game but I think it's important for us to finish on the right note with our fans down here.”
THE MELBOUNRE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE PENRITH PANTHERS, THIS SATURDAY AT OLYMPIC PARK, 3PM
1. Junior Langi 2. Fifita Moala 3. Aaron Moule 4. Steven Bell 5. Marcus Bai 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Peter Robinson 9. Richard Swain 10. Rodney Howe (c) 11. Danny Williams 12. Stephen Kearney 13. Willie Leyshon
14. Shane Walker 15. Ian Sibbit 16. Matt Rua 17. Kirk Reynoldson