Storm may switch Smith to five eighth - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

Storm may switch Smith to five eighth

By Melissa Woods 22/02/2009 05:01:46 PM Comments (0)

Cameron Smith, the world's best hooker, may become Melbourne's new five-eighth as coach Craig Bellamy seeks a way to shift Greg Inglis back to the centres.

Captain Smith was used at five eighth for part of the Storm's 32-24 trial win over Newcastle on Saturday, allowing Bellamy to also see off-season recruit Ryan Hinchcliffe at hooker.

The coach says it's a combination he's considering but the bulked up Inglis will remain in the No.6 jersey this season if a better option isn't found.

The initial plan to get Inglis back to the centres suffered a setback when first choice pivot Arana Taumata was sacked for an off-field incident earlier this month.

It was difficult to gauge Test hooker Smith's impact when he moved to five eighth with Inglis outside him for the third quarter at Princes Park as Melbourne saw little ball and went tryless in the second half.

"We didn't do it just to keep Smithy out there while we gave Ryan Hinchcliffe a run, it's something that we're certainly looking at," Bellamy said.

"It worked OK given that most of that time we didn't have a whole heap of footy.

"Cameron's played in the halves before so I know he can handle it and I think Hinchcliffe's more valuable to us than only playing 10 or 20 minutes a game, he's more valuable to us than that.

"We'll have a look at things and see where they can fit in best."

Inglis was at five-eighth during the first half, which the Storm dominated, running in six tries to three.

After adding six kilos in the off-season to his already impressive frame, Inglis showed his bigger size hasn't noticeably hindered his pace or step and only increased his power as he ran over Newcastle hooker George Ndaira on his way to the tryline.

Bellamy rated his performance as the best of his players.

"I thought Greg was really good, he was really involved, which was great for us," Bellamy said.

"He has put on a little bit of weight this year so I think he is going to be even harder to handle. I don't think he has lost much pace.

"I thought that extra size really helped in a couple of tackles he made out there tonight. He really put on a few crunches there early."

Melbourne will play its top team in its final NRL trial, against the Broncos in Caloundra next Saturday night before they open their season the following Friday night against St George Illawarra.

"It was a bit of a contrast of two halves. We started well, but we didn't even look like scoring a try in the second half, which was a worry for us," Bellamy said.

"We've got another trial to go (before round one), and who is to say we are going to get (the line-up) right straight away anyway.

"But overall I was happy."

Meanwhile, Knights hooker, Isaac De Gois, who was assisted from the field against Melbourne, has been cleared of a suspected broken collarbone following x-rays.

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