Home Sports Storm face fight for Munster, Robbo hits back at Bennett claims, Latrell’s booze ban

Storm face fight for Munster, Robbo hits back at Bennett claims, Latrell’s booze ban


Melbourne’s chances of retaining Cameron Munster long term are becoming clouded with the Storm facing a salary cap squeeze.

With Jahrome Hughes and Harry Grant deserving of massive pay increases and fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen already re-signed until the end of 2025 in a significantly upgraded contract, Munster may be the odd man out.

The Queensland and Australian five-eighth was threatened with the sack in the off-season due to the Mad Monday “white powder” incident and has been told by the Storm he is on his last chance.

Munster is contracted until the end of next year but according to a News Corp report, he is set to reject a multimillion-dollar extension offer with the Dolphins expansion club waiting in the wings should he become a free agent. Grant is close to signing a three-year $3 million deal but Munster could be taking a pay cut which would drop him to six figures annually if he stays at the Storm.

The 27-year-old earlier this week said his preference was to remain in Melbourne as they had kept faith in him despite several off-field indiscretions.

Munster is making his first appearance for 2022 in the Storm’s Thursday night showdown with Souths at AAMI Park.

Robbo bites back at Bennett over concussions

Trent Robinson has brushed off Wayne Bennett’s criticism of his club over the handling of concussions, declaring the Sydney Roosters don’t cheat the system.

Bennett raised eyebrows across the NRL this week when he hit out at clubs over head knocks, accusing them of manipulating the process to gain free interchanges for years.

The veteran coach also had a clear crack at the Roosters, questioning why Victor Radley was left on the field for several minutes after a knock in last week’s loss to Newcastle.

Radley was eventually ruled out of the game as a category-one HIA by the new independent doctor in the bunker, before the Roosters later stated his issue was in fact a neck injury.

Teammate Billy Smith was also later ruled out despite the Roosters again claiming he had not suffered a head knock.

The Roosters have been cautious with concussions for several players including Jake Friend and Boyd Cordner. “I’m really at peace with the way we deal with our players,” Robinson said.

“Usually you get fired up about this stuff but I am really calm because I know of the way we react and the form is there that we look after our players. I know how we treat HIAs, I know how we deal with players in game and after game through the course of their careers because we’re not a team that cheats the system. 

“We’re not one of the reasons that they had to change the rules. I am really at peace with what we did. And we don’t have to change.”

Robinson was not willing to engage in a back-and-forth with the future Dolphins coach. “He is like everyone else watching the game and having an opinion,” Robinson said.  “Obviously his standing in the game is quite large, but it doesn’t affect me in the way we deal with our players. 

“I am not going to change, I don’t have to change the methods in the way our doctors and physios deal with our players because we are on the right track.” 

Radley and Smith have been cleared to face Manly on Friday night, with Robinson confident communication will become clearer between the bunker and club doctors after largely backing the system.

“They passed their tests during the game, after the game and the next day,” Robinson said. “Victor should have come off the field, there is no doubt about that.”

Latrell gives up booze to be at his best

Rabbitohs star Latrell Mitchell has decided to give up the drink for a year as he looks to make amends in 2022 for last season’s controversial early finish as a result of a six-match suspension.

Mitchell will make his comeback from the ban for his high shot on former Roosters teammate Joey Manu when the Bunnies tackle the Storm in Melbourne on Thursday night. and has vowed to give alcohol the flick for a 12-month period.

In an interview broadcast on Fox League on Wednesday night, the NSW and Australian representative said he needed to adopt a better overall approach to his career.

“I’ve never been great in the off-season but I got a bit slack there and wasn’t too interested in coming back and doing anything,” Mitchell said. “But I flicked it around from New Year’s onwards and I really looked at myself and where I needed to be.

“I got off most stuff you shouldn’t be doing as a rugby league player like alcohol. I’ve been nine weeks ‘off it’ and I’m feeling as fresh as I ever have. I don’t mind a beer but it’s been the best for me. I’ve been thinking a lot clearer.”

Freddie says Perth next expansion location

With the Queensland-based Dolphins joining the NRL in 2023, NSW Blues coach Brad Fittler has tipped Perth as a potential expansion city as the code takes State of Origin west again in 2022.

Perth will host game two of this year’s State of Origin series and Fittler believes the showcase fixture will draw even more support for the game in Western Australia.

“We’ve got the Dolphins coming in next year to the NRL and there’s talk of another team to make it an 18-team competition in the near future so, Perth’s always been one of those areas that we’ve spoke about,” the Blues coach said.

“Obviously the time difference, it’s a popular sport over here – the competition with the AFL is tough but it’s something off this (Origin) game that will create a lot of interest and get rugby league rolling again.”

The Dolphins are the NRL’s first expansion side since Gold Coast in 2007 and the 34th club in the history of the game.

Perth last had a rugby league franchise in 1997 when the Perth Reds played in the Super League before being axed from the competition later that year. 

And while Fittler’s side have had great success at neutral venues, he said the experience of playing in the west again after their 2019 victory is a huge drawcard for players.  “Our experience here was incredible, from running out to the light show, to staying here for the entire week,” said the coach.

“And obviously the result, so we’ve got great memories of this ground and we plan to make it the same.

“I think its just over 100 days before we play here so, game two is always the most crucial one. Game two never misses, it always stands out.”

The Blues will kick off their title defence in Sydney on June 8 after all three 2021 games were played in Queensland due to the pandemic. 


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