Slater poised to miss Storm's Manly clash

Scott Bailey
Queensland's Billy Slater ended his State of Origin career with a win over NSW in Brisbane

Billy Slater is expected to be one of a number of Melbourne's State of Origin stars rested for the Storm's NRL clash with Manly on Saturday.

Melbourne's six Origin players returned to the club on Friday and Bellamy admitted he may not know the make up of his team until the morning of the game.

What is likely though is that at least some will be rested from the Lottoland fixture, with champion fullback Slater expected to be close to the top of the list of players who need their workload managed.

The Storm will also monitor the fitness of Cameron Munster, Tim Glasby, Felise Kaufusi, Will Chambers and Josh Addo-Carr after Wednesday night's game.

"We'll probably be missing two or three, to be honest, but who they actually are, at the moment, I'm not 100 per cent sure," Bellamy said.

"We're pretty sure Billy won't be playing but we'll check on the rest of them."

Slater has played just one game for Melbourne since the middle of May after the club managed him through a hamstring injury which ruled him out of the opening game of the Origin series.

However, he was arguably Queensland's best in the two games he did play, controversially becoming the first player from a losing side to win the Wally Lewis Medal for the player of the series.

"It's just his age," Bellamy said of Slater. "He hasn't played a whole heap of footy this year.

"But Origin games are hectic games. They're physical games and for Billy I imagine that was very emotionally draining for him.

"We'll probably sit him out this week and get him back next week."

Saturday's clash marks a grudge match on many fronts.

Manly are promoting the match as a celebration of their record 2008 grand final victory, including the sale of 40-0 merchandise - a point Sea Eagles players admitted earlier this week could fire the Storm up.

It's also the first time they've met since the round 12 fight night, although Dylan Walker and Curtis Scott will likely be on opposite sides of the field with the Manly ace named at five-eighth.

Although Bellamy said he didn't feel the need to speak to Scott this week about his discipline.

"I think he learned a lesson from the last one," Bellamy said.

"He realised he missed a fair bit of footy there and that probably put him back a little bit to be quite honest."


* Manly are one of only two clubs Craig Bellamy does not have better than a 50 per cent win record against.

* Melbourne have outscored Manly 80-32 in their past five matches.

* Only six of Manly's games this year have been decided by 13 points or less.

* Stats: Fox Sports Stats