Melbourne will wait until game day to make a call on their State of Origin players to face Newcastle after a chaotic travel day with their forced relocation to Queensland.
NSW winger Josh Addo-Carr is the most in doubt after copping a heavy blow to his back during Wednesday’s third State of Origin.
The Storm had their hopes of playing their first home game in 78 days on Saturday night dashed after another COVID-19 outbreak in Victoria sent the state into lockdown.
Their Origin representatives arrived from the Gold Coast on Thursday afternoon only to be put back on a plane four hours later for Brisbane, with the team now facing the Knights at Cbus Super Stadium on the Gold Coast on Saturday night.
The team and their families didn’t arrive at their hotel in Brisbane until 2am, which had thrown out their preparations, according to Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
“It was really tough for the Origin players. They flew back to Melbourne and then four hours later were on a plane back to where they came from,” Bellamy said.
“We had a captain’s run and everyone seems to be in reasonably good spirits so hopefully we will be OK.”
But their Origin players – Addo-Carr, Cameron Munster, Dale Finucane, Felise Kaufusi, Christian Welch and Nicho Hynes, who was 18th man for the Blues – would be put through their paces on Saturday before getting the green light to play.
“A couple of them look at bit dusty. Josh (Addo-Carr) with that whack he copped in the back,” Bellamy said.
“He’s a bit ginger at the moment but we will check him again Saturday.
“If we made a decision today there would have been a couple of them not playing but … we’ll give them until Saturday and check them out and see who’s fit to play.”
The premiers sit top the NRL ladder while the Knights are outside the eight on points differential but Bellamy was wary about what fullback Kalyn Ponga would bring after returning from injury to start for the Maroons.
“Kalyn played in the Knights’ last game and made a massive difference when they played the Cowboys and he had that sort of effect in Origin,” Bellamy said.
“You don’t have to be a genius to work out what a big part of the Knights Kalyn is – he’s a wonderful player and competitor as well.
“He’s going to be a massive danger so hopefully we can restrict some of his movement.”