Storm look to make room for Grant return

·2-min read

Melbourne skipper Jesse Bromwich says he's excited to potentially have State of Origin hooker Harry Grant back in their line-up to face Canterbury but doesn't want it to come at the expense Brandon Smith.

The Storm are looking to squeeze both star rakes into their side for the Saturday afternoon clash at Stadium Australia, with Grant named on an extended bench for the first time since suffering a pre-season knee injury.

New Zealand Test hooker Smith has started at No.9 for all four games and has proved a solid replacement for retired skipper Cameron Smith - ranking second this season for dummy-half runs behind Gold Coast's Mitch Rein.

The highly-rated Grant is more of a playmaker and the Storm are keen to develop his partnership with Cameron Munster and speedster Ryan Papenhuyzen.

But Bromwich said the Storm couldn't afford to lose the punch the of hard-running Smith.

"Brandon's biggest strength is his running game so Harry coming back, I guess, that will let Brandon do a bit more running," Bromwich said on Wednesday.

Bromwich thinks Smith will start against the winless Bulldogs at hooker, with Grant coming off the bench.

Smith would then shift to middle forward where he made such an impact last year.

"He will probably go back to playing that lock forward type role but having Harry back is going to be really good for our team as our bench really strengthens up with either one of them two on it," Bromwich said.

The veteran prop has carried the leadership load, with his co-captain Dale Finucane injuring his calf before round one, with Bromwich expecting his fellow forward to be back next round to take on the Sydney Roosters at AAMI Park.

But Bromwich said he'd had plenty of help up front, rating Christian Welch as the Storm's most reliable performer over the opening rounds.

"Last year was huge for Christian and he went on to play really well in the State of Origin and really grew in confidence," Bromwhich said.

"He's brought that into this year and has been our most consistent player and is playing some really good football."