Cameron Munster blow confirmed as Melbourne Storm face 22-year first in NRL opener

The Storm have confirmed the news about Munster heading into their opening round game.

Cameron Munster will miss the blockbuster clash with the Penrith Panthers in the Storm's opening match after succumbing to a groin injury he has battled all pre-season. The Storm are heading into the new season and will attempt to keep their 21-year winning streak in round one of the competition alive.

And in order to make it 22 years straight of winning the opening game, the Storm will have to overcome the Panthers. The round one clash between the Storm and the Panthers was also billed as a blockbuster duel between two of the NRL's best players.

Cameron Munster (pictured) could be set to miss the blockbuster clash with the Penrith Panthers and Nathan Cleary (pictured right) due to injury. (Getty Images)
Cameron Munster (pictured) could be set to miss the blockbuster clash with the Penrith Panthers and Nathan Cleary (pictured right) due to injury. (Getty Images)

Halfback Nathan Cleary is looking to guide his team to a fourth straight premiership title, while five-eighth Munster is looking to improve the Storm heading into 2024. However, the tantalising showdown between two of the best halves in the competition will to wait, with Munster ruled out of the clash on Thursday.

Munster injured his groin again when he slipped in the shower before a pre-season match in Fiji. And the Maroons five-eighth hasn't been able to train at full speed since. Munster had earlier said he wouldn't play on Friday night if he wasn't able to train at 100 per cent this week.

"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 was dealing with a similar injury last year, which he admitted was impacting his agility around the field. The five-eighth wants to strengthen the muscle going forward before doing any more damage.

"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."

Jonah Pezet to step up in Cameron Munster absence

Craig Bellamy said on Thursday that either Jonah Pezet, who has worn the No.6 jumper in the Storm's two trial matches, or utility Tyran Wishart would start in Munster's place. "We tried a couple of guys there today - Tyran Wishart is our 14 so he can play a couple of postions and young Jonah's played our trials so we will have a look after training and make a decision from there," said Bellamy. "I'm really confident both of them could get the job done."

The Storm are hunting their 22nd straight first round win, but it will be a huge task against the reigning champions without Munster. Although new captain Harry Grant has backed Pezet to fill the void.


"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. "If he does get his opportunity I'm sure he will be ready to take it."

Pezet made his NRL debut last and played seven matches. However the 21-year-old faces a huge task to help the Storm keep their first round winning streak alive.

Cameron Munster reacts.
Cameron Munster (pictured) is set to miss round one for the Storm. (Kelly Defina via Getty Images)

The Panthers obliterated the Storm 38-4 in last year's preliminary final. And Grant knows the team will need a much better start to the season if they are to turn around this deficit. "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."

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