Storm keen to rest players against Dragons

Injury and concussions may force Melbourne to field a depleted team in their final regular-season game against St George Illawarra next week.

Storm head coach CRAIG BELLAMY
Storm head coach CRAIG BELLAMY Picture: Michael Dodge/Getty Images

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy admits injuries and concussion may deny him the opportunity to rest key players in their final regular-season game against St George Illawarra next week.

The Storm locked in a second-place finish on Saturday after easily disposing of Wests Tigers 50-22 on the Sunshine Coast, however it may have come at a cost.

Winger Suliasi Vunivalu failed to finish the match with a hamstring injury, while forwards Kenny Bromwich and Nelson Asofa-Solomona also suffered head knocks in the resounding win.

The Storm were also without injured pair Ryan Papenhuyzen and Dale Finucane, while front-rower Christian Welch was forced to miss the game because of a COVID-19 breach.

Asked about the prospect of resting players for the Dragons match, Bellamy said: "We'd like to give a couple a rest without a doubt, but I think we're going to be forced into giving a few a rest.

"But we'll just see what the wash-up is when we have our medical meeting (on Sunday), and then we'll go from there. I think we're going to be a fair few short to be honest."

Bellamy hoped Papenhuyzen, who has been battling an Achilles issue, would return next week.

"He's missed two weeks now, so we'll just see where he's at," he said.

"Me personally, I'd like to play him next week. You probably need a run going into a final and not having played for three weeks is probably not ideal, especially in his position."

Bellamy is also determined to fine-tune their defence after conceding four tries for the second week in a row.

"Second half we got some injuries, so we had a few players playing out of position," he said.

"There were a couple of guys who were injured that had to stay out there so I suppose that might be a little bit of a reason or an excuse. But I was pretty disappointed with our defence, especially in the second half."

The Storm, who have been temporarily based in Queensland since June, are likely to host their qualifying final at Suncorp Stadium in two weeks against the Sydney Roosters or Parramatta.