Orford missing, Kearns hopeful for Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Orford missing, Kearns hopeful for Storm

By Guy Hand 13/09/2005 07:20:39 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne halfback Matt Orford missed training on Tuesday in a last-minute hiccup for the Storm's knockout NRL semi-final against North Queensland on Saturday night.

Storm officials denied there was anything seriously wrong with Orford, saying he had been given the day off training because he was "not 100 per cent today".

The club said Orford, whose kicking game was pivotal in the Storm's 24-18 qualifying final win over Brisbane last Saturday, would "definitely" play in the grudge match against the Cowboys at Sydney's Aussie Stadium.

A problem with Orford would be the last thing the Storm needed as it sweated over the fitness of injured skipper Robbie Kearns.

The former Test prop was given until just before kick-off to prove his fitness after Tuesday being named in a 20-man squad for the match.

Kearns is racing the clock to overcome a shoulder injury sustained in the Storm's upset of Brisbane in last weekend's opening finals match.

The 33-year-old, who will retire from rugby league once Melbourne's finals campaign ends, underwent his second day of hyperbaric chamber treatment on Tuesday to help repair a damaged rotator cuff and slightly torn shoulder joint capsule.

As expected, the Storm named teenager Greg Inglis at fullback, replacing Queensland Origin star Billy Slater who is out with an ankle injury.

Inglis can play anywhere in the backline, but the Storm won't be hiding the 18-year-old. He is set to play in his favoured fullback position despite the high stakes.

"It'll be a straight swap I think. It's Greg's favoured position and he can handle anything from centre, wing to fullback," Storm winger Matt Geyer said.

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