Dimitri Pelo

It may have only been a trial game, but losing to the magnitude that the Melbourne Storm did is never fun – nor is it fun when the thumping loss is compounded by injuries to several players from the game.

With the final score ending up 40-8 in favour of the Canberra Raiders, Kevin Proctor, Matt Duffie and Maurice Blair suffered knee, hamstring and cheekbone injuries respectively, with the trio to await results of scans tomorrow.

Proctor’s diagnosis has been confirmed, however, with the forward set to miss the World Club Challenge and possibly the start of the season because of his knee injury.

Despite the major loss, it can perhaps be attributed at least in part to the Storm side missing 6 regulars due to All-Star duties.

“Kevin Proctor’s is a bad one, Bobby Blair with his eye socket or cheekbone (is in a) bit of trouble and Matt Duffie with his hamstring,” said Storm assistant coach Kevin Walters.

“All those three would have expected to have been on the plane, but now they’re not.

“They’re injured, so we have to try to come up with some others.”

Initially ruled out of the All-Stars clash, Billy Slater made a surprise return and made a cameo performance in each half, to test the waters and see how his injury was progressing.

“I know we had some guys missing, but to put in a performance like that was very disappointing,” said Walters.

“Particularly defensively, one of the strong trademarks of the Storm and today it was non-existent.

“I think most of it was down to attitude.”

The Storm were not the only one with injury concerns, however, with centre Jarrod Croker injuring medial ligaments in his knee, and whilst scans will have to be taken, he will apparently be fine to start the season.

“We don’t know the extent of the strain, whether it’s a grade one or a grade two,” said Canberra coach David Furner.

“I think he should be right for the start of the season from what I’ve been told.”

It was the wingers who shone through, with both Dimitri Pelo and Sandor Earl scoring twice – with Pelo giving coach David Furner something to think about, with the coach pleased about his side’s overall performance.

“It is a trial and as a coach you’re just pleased that the areas you’ve been working on during the pre-season, that you are able to implement them during games,” said Furner.

“Having back-to-back sets, obviously you’ve got to use them, but it does take a fair bit of juice out of the opposition.

“In that first half we had five or six sets in a row that we were able to score points off.”

By ricky

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