The NSW Blues have been named for the first game of the 2017 #Origin series.
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With so much attention on the outcome of teammate Danny Williams? striking charge on Tigers back-rower Mark O?Neill this week, Kearney said the Storm couldn?t afford to get distracted in the build-up to this week?s crucial clash with the Eels.
?We realise that we?re in a position now where we have to make a bit of a stance with regards to the remainder of the season, as the last couple of weeks have been pretty disappointing,? Kearney said.
?If we continue in the same vein as last week then we?ll really make it hard for ourselves, we need to make sure our focus is on improving our game and we don?t let anything outside of that change our preparation.
?I think we?re using what has happened over the last couple of days as some sort of motivation.
?It?s disappointing for Danny and for us as a side as we face the idea of him missing this week, but it?s something we?ve dealt with in the past in terms of adversity and we?ll just have to move on.?
Young back-rower Dallas Johnson returns this week following a three-week suspension for a dangerous throw on Warriors halfback Stacey Jones in Round 16.
Johnson has been named on the Storm bench in place of Williams who will front the NRL judiciary tomorrow night for the incident with O?Neill in the 64th minute of Melbourne?s 14-point loss to the Tigers last week.
Johnson?s inclusion is the only change to the side that lost to Wests.
After seeing an eye specialist yesterday prop Robbie Kearns is set to miss at least one more week after suffering a fractured left eye socket against the Panthers in Round 17.
Kearns has still been experiencing double vision and will be reassessed next week in a bid to make a return against the Roosters in Round 21.
Meanwhile Storm forward Kirk Reynoldson has agreed to terms to a four-year deal with the Newcastle Knights today. After coming through feeder club Brisbane Norths, Reynoldson joined the Storm in 2002 and will leave for Newcastle at the end of the season.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE PARRAMATT EELS, SATURDAY JULY 24, AT OLYMPIC PARK (7.30PM):
1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Geyer 3. Steven Bell 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Matt King 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Rodney Howe 9. Cameron Smith 10. Alex Chan 11. David Kidwell 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. Kirk Reynoldson
IN: Dallas Johnson OUT: Danny Williams (to face judiciary)