O'Neill stars as NRL clubs circle Storm - Sports News - Fanatics - the world's biggest events

O'Neill stars as NRL clubs circle Storm

By Melissa Woods 20/06/2010 03:10:15 PM Comments (0)

Melbourne may struggle to hang on to more than just its star brigade with young hat-trick hero Justin O'Neill sure to have caught the attention of circling NRL clubs.

The 19-year-old winger posted three tries in only his second NRL match as the Storm romped home 58-12 on Saturday night against the hapless Cowboys.

Clubs are waiting for the outcome of the NRL's audit of the Storm's books to see which players are going to be on the market following the exposure of Melbourne's massive cap rorting.

A two-year deal had been tabled to O'Neill, and almost signed, before the salary cap dramas put everything on hold.

While big dollars elsewhere could prove a temptation, O'Neill said he wanted to stay with the club who discovered him as a 14-year-old from Hughenden in north-west Queensland.

"Everything is on hold with contracts at the moment ... but I've decided I would like to stay with Melbourne Storm so we'll see what happens," O'Neill said.

"I have been on scholarship with them since I was 14 and moved down last year to play in the under 20s.

"They've developed my skills and I have loved it since I was down here.

"I would enjoy staying here for a couple more years."

Ironically O'Neill, who played junior football and went to school in Townsville, grew up supporting the Cowboys and once dreamed of playing in their side.

"Growing up I always wanted to play with the Cowboys but then I got approached by the Storm.

"I missed playing them (the Cowboys) last year through injury so I was pretty disappointed that I didn't get to play so there was a bit of urgency in there to try and show what I've got to my home team," he said.

O'Neill made his NRL debut in the Storm's heavy loss to the Roosters last round when they were minus their Origin stars and was thrilled to get another opportunity to atone for his performance.

"Last week, because it was my debut, I was very nervous," he said.

"This week I found I was a lot more relaxed and focused on what I needed to do."

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