Melbourne Storm have recalled Billy Slater and Cam Smith for their NRL trial game against Canterbury.
Melbourne Storm have brought out the big guns for their final NRL trial game by naming Billy Slater and Test skipper Cam Smith for Sunday’s clash with Canterbury.
The World Cup-winning duo have been managed through the pre-season following heavy playing schedules in 2013.
Fullback Slater has had off-season knee surgery and hooker Smith is also yet to play a pre-season game in 2014.
“Cam and Billy started training in the third week of January, which is later than usual,” Storm football manager Frank Ponissi told AAP on Wednesday.
“We needed to give them a good break.”
Smith is still building towards peak fitness and is unlikely to play a full game against the Bulldogs.
“Cam will play as much as he can,” Ponissi said.
“Billy has been managed along. He definitely won’t play a full game.”
Test No.7 Cooper Cronk is being aimed for a return in round one against Manly at Brookvale Oval on March 8. Cronk is recovering from shoulder surgery.
“He started training with the squad again this week. The plan at this stage is to get him back for round one,” Ponissi said.
Ben Hampton and Ben Roberts will combine in the halves, while Young Tonumaipea has been named on the wing after strong performances in the club’s opening trial at AAMI Park and last weekend’s Auckland Nines.
The Storm will play the Bulldogs at Brisbane’s Suncorp Stadium on Sunday, followed by a four-day training camp on the Sunshine Coast.
Storm team: Billy Slater, Sisa Waqa, Will Chambers, Mahe Fonua, Young Tonumaipea, Ben Hampton, Ben Roberts, Jesse Bromwich, Cameron Smith, Bryan Norrie, Kevin Proctor, Ryan Hoffman, Ryan Hinchcliffe; interchange: Hymel Hunt, Richie Kennar, Joel Romelo, Slade Griffin, Mitch Garbutt, Jordan McLean, Tohu Harris, Felise Kaufusi, Cameron Munster.