DESPITE the return of veteran forward Ryan Hoffman, Melbourne assistant coach Jason Ryles says young backrower Joe Stimson is right in the mix to snare the spot in the team’s engine room vacated by Tohu Harris.
Jordan McLean (North Queensland) and Harris (Warriors) have left two sizeable holes to fill, but in an interview with The Big Sports Breakfast, Ryles said the Storm have plenty of quality options among the roster.
New recruit Sam Kasiano has also impressed, and appears to look a lot trimmer, but Ryles confirmed the man mountain still weighed in at 125kg.
“Big Sam has come down (from Canterbury). If he can keep putting in that base at training he’ll give himself a good position to play well and opportunity to make the team,” Ryles said.
“You’ve also got guys like Christian Welch coming back from injury.
“On the edge with Tohu (leaving), Joe Stimson is a young guy who’s been our system for five years and he’s 22 years old, so it might be time for his opportunity.
“We’ve got Ryan Hoffman back as well who’s got plenty of experience.
“I think big Nelson (Asofa-Solomona) might play a little bit on the edge — not start there — but play a little bit more on the edge than he has in the past.”
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FIJI NSW CUP BID MOVES ONE STEP CLOSER
The NSW Cup could be fielding a Fiji-based outfit next year after the bid was given the green light by the Fiji National Rugby League.
It’s a huge step for the bid and former NRL player Petero Civoniceva who has been working behind the scenes to make it a reality.
“The endorsement of the FNRL was the missing piece in the jigsaw so now that we have got that it allows us to start to set up for 2019,” Civoniceva told NRL.com.
“We are obviously now going to make a major announcement and will then get on our way towards meeting all the criteria set by the NSWRL to have a team ready for the 2019 season.”
IF YOU MISSED IT …
Backrower Lachlan Burr is back in the NRL and has rejoined Canterbury.
The Bulldogs announced the 25-year-old forward’s one-year deal over the weekend via social media.
Burr made his debut in the blue and white in 2013 before moving up to the Gold Coast where he made 23 appearances.
He joined English outfit Leigh for 2017, but the club were relegated from Super League at the end of the season.