Storm to play youngsters against Dragons - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm to play youngsters against Dragons

By David Beniuk 16/05/2008 07:12:24 PM Comments (0)

First, who's not lining up for Melbourne against St George Illawarra on Saturday night, and it's quite a list.

Billy Slater, Anthony Quinn, Israel Folau, Greg Inglis, Dallas Johnson, Michael Crocker, Ryan Hoffman, Brett White and Cameron Smith.

With nine players on State of Origin duty, the Storm are paying the price for being premiers.

On Saturday night at ANZ Stadium they'll blood three debutants and field nine players with fewer than ten games of NRL experience.

But virtual grandfather Matt Geyer, 32, says the Storm's superior player production line can get them through the tough representative period.

"Not many teams would have been able to handle taking the cream of the crop straight off the top of their list," he said.

"We've got a lot of faith in our kids. We tend to recruit well and ... we like to think when we get hold of them we make them better players."

Kids-turned-superstars Inglis and Folau are prime examples.

"It's just the way we train, the way we go about our life, our systems we have in place, the way we actually play our games," Geyer told AAP.

"(It's) all those little one per cent things, the way we socialise, just being a member of the Melbourne Storm, the way Craig (Bellamy) coaches, the way our assistant coaches coach, all those kinds of things.

"We try to influence the young guys and hopefully we do the job right."

Names like Brett Anderson, Dane Nielsen, Clifford Manua, Sika Manu and Aiden Tolman will be hoping to get over a St George Illawarra side minus Mark Gasnier, Matt Cooper and Ben Hornby and extend the Storm's seven-game winning streak over the Dragons to eight.

"We've got tremendous faith in them," Geyer said.

"We're not asking them to do anything they're not capable of doing.

"They can all tackle, they can all catch the ball, they can all pass the ball and we're not hopefully going to branch away from that too far.

"Ideally we'd try not to (play differently from a full-strength Storm side) but I think realistically we almost have to.

"Luckily we've got halfback Cooper (Cronk) steering the ship."

Josh Morris and Chase Stanley are the new Dragons centres while Rangi Chase replaces Hornby at halfback.

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