He narrowly missed returning for Saturday night’s win over Canberra, but Melbourne are hopeful Cameron Munster can still come back early from a knee injury.
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says the five-day turnaround before taking on the Cowboys in Townsville will be a litmus test for his front-running NRL side.
The Storm over-ran Canterbury in the second half at AAMI Park on Sunday afternoon for an 18-16 win to maintain their unbeaten status, but must get up again on Friday night.
“We’ve had eight day turnarounds so it’s been like being on holidays in the first month when we’ve had extra time to recover between games so this is going to test us out,” Bellamy said.
“Especially going to North Queensland where it’s going to be a touch hotter but we’ll have a plan and hopefully it will work out OK for us.”
NSW Origin winger Josh Addo-Carr missed the win over the Bulldogs, given leave to be in Sydney by the side of his ailing grandfather Wally, who is battling cancer.
Bellamy said given the short time between games and travel time, it might be too much for the speedster to play in the Townsville match.
“It will be a wait and see,” Bellamy said.
“I tried to call him but couldn’t get on to him so we will check that throughout the week.
“For him to travel to Townsville might be a little too much for him.”
He said he would consider tinkering with his team’s right edge, with Curtis Scott, Felise Kaufusi and Suliasi Vunivalu leaking both of the Bulldogs’ first half tries.
“There’s a couple of things our right side need to improve on and we need to get that sorted,” Bellamy said.
The coach said there were other players in their two Queensland Cup teams pushing for an NRL opportunity.
“We’ve got some players who are playing really well with our feeder teams who are undefeated as well,” he said.
“It’s certainly a step up to play NRL but we are confident in those players playing well if we have to use them next Friday.”