Salary cap space freed up by Nicho Hynes' Cronulla defection has provided Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy renewed hope he can re-sign Dale Finucane.
After Finucane again showed why he was so valued by the Storm in Saturday's 20-14 NRL win over Gold Coast, Bellamy said Melbourne would "do whatever we can" to retain the rugged off-contract lock.
And Bellamy reckoned Hynes' decision this week to ink a three-year Sharks deal starting next season may increase their chances.
"I am not sure how much we have saved but you would like to think that has given us a better chance," Bellamy said.
"As far as I am concerned we will do whatever we can to keep him because he is such an important part of this club."
Up to five NRL rivals are believed to be interested in the 29-year-old Finucane who was named Storm co-captain this year following Cameron Smith's retirement.
"We are just trying to put an offer to him that he will hopefully accept," Bellamy said.
"He is one player I would hate to lose. I love the way he plays.
"He puts his head where a lot of people wouldn't put their foot.
"But it is what he does off the field too, the standard he sets at training and his preparation.
"I don't think I have seen anyone any better and I have been in the game for a long time."
Former Melbourne playmaker Cooper Cronk revealed that Finucane was one of Bellamy's top three favourite players - and after their gritty win over the Titans it was not hard to see why.
Finucane was all smiles post-match sporting a stitched eyebrow and bloodied mouth after another workaholic effort in which he ran 119 metres, had 47 post-contact metres and made 31 tackles.
"It looks like it is dicey whether he (Finucane) stays or goes," Cronk told Fox League.
"He (Bellamy) would never say this but Dale is in his top three favourite players of all time - him, Ryan Hinchcliffe and Dallas Johnson.
"He loves that type of warhorse character who may not be able to play X-factor football but you know what you are going to get every week."
Meanwhile, Bellamy still had no return date for star fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen who has not been sighted since being knocked out in Magic Round on May 16.
"That's still a big question mark to be honest," he said.
"He looked a lot brighter this week. He did a bit more training this week so you would like to think it is not too far away but I don't think there has been a date pencilled in for when he returns.
"With the injury he has got we have to be careful."
The Storm added back-rower Kenny Bromwich (ribs) to their injury list after he failed to return to the field against Gold Coast following a 24th minute late hit.