With another member of their depleted backline facing time on the sidelines due to injury, Storm five-eighth Cameron Munster said Wests Tigers winger David Nofoaluma’s arrival in Melbourne couldn’t come at a better time.
Nofoaluma, who had fallen down the pecking order at the Wests Tigers in recent weeks and been left out of the NRL side, will join the Storm on loan for the remainder of 2022.
The Samoa international is expected to move straight into the starting side for coach Craig Bellamy, who could be without stand-in fullback Nick Meaney after he left the field with a shoulder injury and concussion in the second half of Friday night’s win over the Warriors.
Magic from Meaney
With the Storm having already lost Ryan Papenhuyzen, Xavier Coates, Reimis Smith and George Jennings to long-term injuries, Munster said it was a huge relief to secure a player of Nofoaluma’s experience and ability for the run towards the finals.
“He is obviously a very smart winger and a good player with the ball in his hands,” Munster told NRL.com.
“He is a very strong ball runner and he will be very handy for us coming out of the backfield. Hopefully we can get some good combinations with him and he can score some tries for us.
“He is very awkward to tackle, a very strong player and when he has the ball in his hands, he tends to get across the field very quickly. He can make you pay.
Awesome foursome for Nofoaluma
“We are very fortunate the Tigers have let him come on loan. It probably couldn’t come at a better time.
“Everyone is falling down like flies at the moment, so fingers crossed we can get a healthy side there next Friday night against the Titans.”
Before announcing the loan deal with the Wests Tigers on Friday evening, Melbourne had tried to bring Warriors fullback Reece Walsh and former Storm winger Josh Addo-Carr, who is now at the Bulldogs, in on loan for the rest of the year.
Munster said despite the club’s efforts to try and bolster the backline, he had been impressed with the manner in which wingers Grant Anderson, Dean Ieremia and center Marion Seve had filled the void in recent weeks.
“Grant, Maz (Seve) and Dean, mate, they have been outstanding for us,” Munster said
“They probably wouldn’t have expected to have played so many games this year.
They will only be better for the run and getting experience in these positions and I expect a big year for them next year.
Captain Jesse Bromwich meanwhile said he believed his side had turned a corner in the 24-12 defeat of the Warriors in Auckland, as they held a team to fewer than 20 points for the first time since the end of May.
Melbourne faced a difficult final five games of the regular season, with next week’s trip to face the Titans the only match they have remaining against a side sitting outside of the top eight.
How did they stop this
“I think we took a step in the right direction. I just could feel the attitude towards our defense has changed and I think that’s what we needed,” Bromwich said.
“It’s obviously been a tough month but we had a really good performance [Friday]obviously we have got a few things to work on, but I think it will give us a bit of a confidence boost.”