Melbourne Storm have half Ben Roberts on report for a dangerous tackle after falling to a 20-10 NRL trial loss to Canterbury.
Melbourne Storm face playmaking dramas for their NRL season kick-off after off-season recruit Ben Roberts was placed on report in their Charity Cup loss to Canterbury on Sunday.
With coach Craig Bellamy admitting Cooper Cronk is unlikely to return from shoulder surgery in round one, Roberts was poised to pilot the Storm against Manly at Brookvale Oval.
But the back-up halfback’s now in doubt following a dangerous lifting tackle on Bulldogs fullback Sam Perrett late in the 20-10 loss in front of 10,083 fans at Suncorp Stadium.
Referee Shayne Hayne had little hesitation on placing Roberts on report, which could see youngster Ben Hampton teamed with another rookie in the halves at Brookvale Oval on March 8.
“We’ll just wait and see what happens with that decision,” Bellamy said.
The Storm coach also has concerns with lock Ryan Hinchcliffe finishing the match in a moonboot after rolling his ankle in the second half.
“It’s a bit blown up so hopefully we can get the swelling down and we can have him training in the week before Manly,” he said.
The Bulldogs, who host the Broncos on Friday week, had better injury news in their sheds following the four-tries-to-two victory with Krisnan Inu cleared of a broken jaw.
Inu had been a contender to play fullback but Kiwis international Perrett started there in a sign he has won the hotly-contested battle to wear the Bulldogs No.1 jersey.
Missing only playmaker Josh Reynolds from his strongest line-up, Dogs coach Des Hasler was pleased by the performance of rising five-eighth Moses Mbye who filled Reynolds’ place with aplomb.
Mbye showed great composure, had a hand in three of their four tries and showed he’ll have one of the biggest drop-kicks in the NRL following a couple of 60m restarts.
The Noosa product sealed the trial for Canterbury when he punished a 79th minute error by putting Josh Morris over for his second try, but Hasler was also cautious about inflating expectations.
“It was his first hit-out in the big grade and he has a big future in front of him, so don’t push him,” the coach said.
Missing Cronk and Billy Slater, the Storm dominated the opening 15 minutes, camping out near the Dogs’ goal-line but it took until their fourth attacking grubber for centre Mahe Fonua to score off his own kick.
“They seemed to be on our line for an eternity but they didn’t do much with it,” said Hasler, who was most pleased with his team’s defence.