Rugby League

License article

Storm play ducks and drakes

IT WAS a case of all players being fit and healthy for Melbourne in today's grand final against Canterbury but assistant coach Kevin Walters still did his best yesterday to cause doubt about the line-up by suggesting some changes could be made to the interchange bench.

Billy Slater, Will Chambers and Sisa Waqa completed the Storm's final training session yesterday and will line up today but Walters made sure the mind games would be played right up until kick-off with the eight-man bench named last Tuesday to be culled to four before the match.

''Will Chambers is good with his hamstring so he's going to be fine and Sisa Waqa will be good as well to take his place,'' Walters said.

''Certainly Sisa, Will and Billy will be playing but as for the bench I think Craig's [Bellamy] got a few little ideas there that he's going to test out. Craig doesn't like surprises, we're keeping things normal but there is a bit of flexibility there with our bench with how he wants to go.''

When pressed, Walters was vague as to what changes could be contemplated. ''He [Bellamy] hasn't spoken to me about shuffling [players] but you just never know what will happen,'' Walters said.

Storm football operations manager Frank Ponissi later said when he was asked about possible changes, that the team was likely to be as named.


Walters said Slater, who complained of a lack of energy after a training session on Thursday and was ordered back to the hotel, skipping the team's final television commitment, would take the field. Ponissi maintained that even though team doctors had been cautious, the fullback had simply been tired from a long day and was now ''100 per cent''.

Walters said Slater ''had been a little bit off with the flu''. ''He [had] just a little bit of a hiccup on Thursday, so he'll [be] … all fit to go,'' Walters said.

''He was bad enough. I mean Billy's a pretty honest fella and obviously you've got to be very cautious with your players at this time of year. He was little bit off with the flu and a bit of stuff but the doctors have got him right so he'll be looking forward to playing on Sunday night.''

Waqa, who missed the Storm's preliminary final win over Manly because of a jarred knee, and Chambers, who recently returned from a hamstring problem, have been passed fit to play.