Munster completes contact training, set for round five

Jasper Bruce |

Melbourne’s Cameron Munster is expected to play his first game of the NRL season next weekend.
Melbourne’s Cameron Munster is expected to play his first game of the NRL season next weekend.

Cameron Munster has returned to full contact training and is expected to play his first game of the NRL season next weekend.

Melbourne’s star five-eighth has been sidelined since the pre-season, when he slipped getting out of the shower and injured his groin.

Munster’s recovery timeline has been unclear across the opening three rounds of the season, but the Storm had last week been hopeful he would return to face Brisbane in round five after the bye.

Doubt were cast over those plans last week after Storm great Cameron Smith was caught on a hot mic telling SEN radio co-host Denan Kemp that Munster could “hardly run”.

But Melbourne’s general manager of football Frank Ponissi said on Wednesday that Munster’s condition was improving and that he had resumed training.

“If he can train for the rest of this week and early next week, given it’s a Thursday night game, he will be back for the Broncos game, which will be obviously a huge boost for the team,” Ponissi said.

Munster’s inclusion would mean both he and Jahrome Hughes would be on deck to face last year’s runners-up after Hughes missed the round-three loss to Newcastle through suspension.

The Storm’s attack lacked spark without their first-choice halves pairing, with Ryan Papenhuyzen a notable exception at fullback.

Melbourne expects centre Reimis Smith to return from the rib injury that sidelined him mid-game against the Knights, and Joe Chan could return from the hand infection that required surgery.

Former Storm captain Christian Welch is expected to face the Broncos after shaking off concussion symptoms. 

AAP