Cameron Munster has bounced back in superb fashion for the Storm. Picture: Getty Images
Cameron Munster has bounced back in superb fashion for the Storm. Picture: Getty Images

Magic Munster stealing the show for Storm

SO much for Melbourne Storm falling down the ladder after losing Billy Slater on the back of Cooper Cronk.

Heading into round four and the Storm and Souths remain the only unbeaten teams, while Cameron Munster has joined Robbie Farah at the top of the Dally M leaderboard.

After a forgettable grand final, Munster has bounced back this year in outstanding style.

Those who remember Munster from his early days playing Queensland Cup for Rockhampton under former Maroons Origin hooker Jason Hetherington reckon the player we see now is just the same "freak" as the one they loved watching back then.

Last weekend, Munster came up with three one-on-one steals in the 32-2 win over Penrith that was one of the big talking points of the round. In 2013, Munster actually scored one of the tries of the year after he came up with a similar play.

Ipswich Jets coach Ben Walker was this week reflecting on Munster's early days.

Along with his brother Shane, Ben loves to coach an unorthodox brand of footy with the Jets.

Which is what immediately attracted them to Munster the first time they saw him play.

Cameron Munster finished with three one-on-one steals against the Panthers. (Art by Scott “Boo” Bailey)
Cameron Munster finished with three one-on-one steals against the Panthers. (Art by Scott “Boo” Bailey)

"He was just this scrawny little fullback and he was manhandling our players," Walker recalled.

 

"The next time we played them, I can still tell you what he did. We made a break down the left side and he tackled us in the corner, basically held us up over the tryline.

"Then we shifted it wide on the right, put a grubber in, and he's picked it up and run 95 metres and scored."

It's a credit to Craig Bellamy's coaching as much as it is Munster for not only keeping this bloke on the straight and narrow off the field, but still allowing him to play his brand of footy on it.

RIGHT MOVE

Knights coach Nathan Brown deserves credit for swallowing his pride and ending the Kalyn Ponga five-eighth experiment.

The gun 21-year-old will be back where he belongs at fullback for Newcastle's clash against St George Illawarra on Sunday.

It was obvious to everyone the move had to happen but plenty of coaches probably would have dug in their heels, anyway, given the criticism the Knights were copping.

It is only round four but Sunday's clash is a desperate game for two teams with one win and in need of confidence.

Kalyn Ponga returns to fullback for the Knights. Picture: AAP
Kalyn Ponga returns to fullback for the Knights. Picture: AAP

HOME TRUTH

Manly will be hoping last week's 46-12 win over the Warriors can also inspire a change of fortunes at home, where the Brookvale Oval "fortress" is now in tatters.

Fox Sports Stats shows the Sea Eagles have lost eight of their past nine games at Lottoland and if they lose to joint leaders South Sydney on Saturday, it will be the their worst run at home since 2003-04.

HASTY DEAL?

You have to wonder what the Warriors' management would be thinking now about handing Stephen Kearney a new three-year deal before the season that has locked the coach in until the end of 2022.

Even though Gold Coast haven't won a game this season, the Warriors are easily the biggest disappointments so far.

After their first-round thrashing of the Bulldogs, they have lost back-to-back games against Wests Tigers and Manly, leaking 82 points in the process.

The Titans showed plenty of grit to hang in against the Rabbitohs until the final minutes despite being on the wrong side of a 9-1 penalty count.

Starting halves Ash Taylor and Tyrone Roberts have been named to return from injury.

News Corp Australia


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