Groin injury puts Munster in doubt for Storm opener

Melissa Woods |

Melbourne star Cameron Munster is battling injury ahead of their NRL season start against Penrith
Melbourne star Cameron Munster is battling injury ahead of their NRL season start against Penrith

Cameron Munster appears unlikely to play in Melbourne’s NRL round-one showdown with defending premiers Penrith, as he struggles to overcome a troublesome groin issue.

His absence would rob the Friday night clash at AAMI Park of a battle between two of the game’s best halves, with Nathan Cleary steering the Panthers as they begin their quest for a fourth straight title.

Munster has been unable to train fully since re-injuring his groin when he slipped in the shower while the Storm were in Fiji for a pre-season clash with Newcastle last month.

“I was looking good for the Fiji game and then I slipped in the shower, so it wasn’t ideal,” Munster told reporters on Monday.

“It’s a frustrating injury, but I’m doing everything I can to get it right.

“I tried to do a little bit today, but I need to be 80 to 100 per cent to be able to play on Friday

“If I’m not right by Tuesday or Wednesday I will pull the pin.”

Munster battled osteitis pubis leading into round one last year, which he said affected his “zip”.

He was able to overcome that issue, but he felt this current problem was related.

“I finally shook that, but something’s come back and I had scans and there’s a bit of inflammation in the groin,” Munster said.

“I’m going to try and figure out what I can do around the body to try and strengthen everything up, like the core and glutes.”

With the Storm gunning for an incredible 22nd straight round-one victory under coach Craig Bellamy, Jonah Pezet is set to wear the No.6 jersey should Munster be ruled out.

Jonah Pezet
Jonah Pezet is set to wear the No.6 jersey for the Storm should Cameron Munster be ruled out. (Dan Himbrechts/AAP PHOTOS)

New Melbourne skipper Harry Grant said Pezet had been training in the position in Munster’s absence and would be ready.

“Pez (Pezet) has done a really good job of being patient and he could potentially be a starting player at a number of other clubs, but he committed to our club and wants to keep learning and keep developing his game,” Grant said of the 21-year-old, who made his NRL debut last and played seven matches.

“If he does get his opportunity I’m sure he will be ready to take it.”

The Storm were thumped 38-4 by Penrith in last year’s preliminary final, before the Panthers went on to win a third straight NRL premiership.

Grant said his team had prepared well for a massive round-one challenge.

“They’ve been at the top of the table for a number of years and that’s because they’re consistent at what they do and they’re ruthless with it,” he said.

‘”We’ve done a lot of work in the pre-season, so we can take a lot of confidence out of that, but time will tell.

“We have to put that into an 80-minute performance, and there’s no better test than the three-time premiers.”