It was a game matching first with last and after taking a battering in State of Origin game one on Wednesday night, Storm skipper Cameron Smith sat out his teams win over the Newcastle Knights lsat Friday night.
While a sternum problem was rumoured to the keeping Smith sidelined, no specific injury was reported by the Storm, with coach Craig Bellamy describing his captain as being ‘cooked’ as the reason for his absence when asked at the post-match press conference.
However with six days between the Knights game and the Grand Final rematch with the Sharks, Bellamy was confident Smith would be on deck at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday.
“You’d like to think so,” Bellamy said when asked about Smith’s status for the Sharks match. “It’s a six day turnaround, we’ll just see how he goes through the week, check him out Monday or Tuesday.”
Smith wasn’t really missed by the Storm who dominated the Knights in retaining first spot with a 40-12 triumph, setting up a top of the table clash on Thursday.
Resting up in the Shire over the weekend due to the bye the Sharks are reporting no injury concerns, with their four NSW Origin heroes fit and certain to play against the Storm.
Andrew Fifita, Wade Graham, James Maloney and Jack Bird returned fro Queensland last Thursday but were they given a break from training until Monday when the Sharks will reassemble before continuing preparations for the Storm match.
No doubt pleased to have them back, coach Shane Flanagan will however now have some difficult selection decisions to make after the players who stepped up to fill the holes did an admirable job last week in edging out the Bulldogs by a point.
Flanagan, like his counterpart Bellamy in Melbourne, will announce his team on tomorrow ahead of Thursday night’s game.
The Sharks and Storm have played once already this year, with the Cronulla side winning 11-2 in a match played in atrocious conditions earlier in the season.
The game is scheduled for a 7.50pm kick off at Southern Cross Group Stadium on Thursday night.