Storm Welcome Bye To Iron Out

Melbourne Storm?s long list of injured players will receive some relief this week as the club enjoys its second bye of the season before meeting the Manly Sea Eagles at Olympic Park in the final round of the NRL?s regular season.

While the likes of Scott Hill, Robbie Ross and Rodney Howe will be sidelined until the 2004 season, the Storm will use this week?s bye to rest up several other players battling injury.

Melbourne halfback Matt Orford welcomes the break to relieve a calf injury he suffered during last week?s eight-point win over the Dragons in Wollongong and similarly forward Danny Williams won?t train this week after receiving an ankle injury in the same match.

Second-rower?s Peter Robinson (ankle) and skipper Stephen Kearney (groin) will also use this week to rest up after battling injury for the past few weeks and Dallas Johnson still gives himself a remote chance of returning from a torn medial ligament in the next three weeks.

Storm utility Andrew McFadden made a successful return last week after playing 50 minutes for feeder club Brisbane Norths ? the Devils beat the North Queensland Young Guns 46-24 ? and will add another option for Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy heading into the finals.

Since undergoing back surgery on a bulging disc in round nine 28-year-old Ross had hoped to make a timely return to the Storm side a week before the finals however he has now officially been ruled out for the remainder of the season.

Following final tests conducted by specialists last week the former NSW fullback was advised to return next season despite a strong recovery over the past two months.