Former Penrith rookie Steve Turner will make his Storm debut this Sunday when Melbourne hosts the St George Illawarra Dragons at Olympic Park.
The loss of winger Matt Geyer with a medial ligament injury this week has opened the door for Turner to play in just his third National Rugby League match ? ironically he made his NRL debut against the Storm in 2002.
As Billy Slater continues to hold down fullback for the Storm, Turner will debut for Melbourne on the wing, despite having predominantly worn the No. 1 jersey throughout his short career.
With Rhys Wesser the Panther?s first-choice fullback, Turner moved to Melbourne in a bid to gain first grade experience and now the 19-year-old qualified electrician believes he can add some spark to the Storm?s backline.
?Playing on the wing isn?t going to be an issue for me, I just want to get into the side and stay in the side,? Turner said.
?Although fullback is my preferred position it doesn?t bother me if I play on the wing, I?m happy to line-up there. Now that I?ve been called into the side I see this as my first step to cementing a place in first-grade.?
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy sees Turner?s call-up as reward for a strong pre-season.
?He?s done everything at training and has had some good games in the pre-season so he deserves his chance,? Bellamy said.
?Fullback is probably his best spot but at this stage we?re going to put him on the wing and see if he can do a good job for us. He?s a good young kid that works very hard so he?ll be fine.? Turner?s selection is made all the more important considering Melbourne?s wingers struggled to contain Newcastle last week, conceding all seven tries out wide.
?Newcastle are a good side but we had a lot of chances on the weekend and it was our failed defence out wide that cost us,? Bellamy added.
?There were some positive signs there last week for sure, but one of the things that we pride ourselves on here is not beating ourselves.?
Turner agrees: ?It was unfortunate last week with a number of tries scored out wide but hopefully we can adjust this Sunday and perform a bit better.?
The only other change to the Storm side that lost to the Knights last week is the inclusion of young forwards Ryan Hoffman and Antonio Kaufusi for the injured Glen Turner (calf).
?With Glen Turner gone we need another forward, I?m not quite sure which one yet but we?ll have a look at them during the week and then make a decision,? Bellamy explained.
MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE ST GEORGE ILLAWARRA DRAGONS, SUNDAY MARCH 28, AT OLYMPIC PARK (3PM):
1. Billy Slater 2. Steve Turner 3. Matt King 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Fifita Moala 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Robbie Kearns 9. Cameron Smith 10. Rodney Howe 11. Peter Robinson 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. David Kidwell
14. Danny Williams 15. Kirk Reynoldson 16. Alex Chan 17. Ryan Hoffman 18. Antonio Kaufusi
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK: Tuesday: 2pm, Faulkner Park Wednesday: 3.30pm, Olympic Park Thursday: 3.30pm, Olympic Park Saturday: 10.30am, Olympic ParkLike