NRL CRAIG BELLAMY PRESSER
An "upset" Cameron Smith will be out to make amends for his one-match suspension when Melbourne take on North Queensland on Friday night - but he'll have to do it without Billy Slater.
Smith was banned for a week for a dangerous wishbone tackle on his former teammate Kevin Proctor in their clash with the Titans.
He was forced to watch from the stands as his team turned in their worst performance of the season in a 24-4 loss to Manly.
Without their leader the Storm attack looked lost as they struggled to mount any pressure on their fierce rivals.
While geared up for a return against their fellow 2017 grand finalists, Smith and his Storm teammates will be missing fullback Slater.
The club confirmed late on Thursday that their No.1 would be rested for the Townsville clash due to hamstring tightness.
His spot will be taken by Jahrome Hughes.
Ahead of the clash Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said the NRL champions felt it had been a harsh call to charge and suspend Smith.
"It was tough for him last week to miss a game as he doesn't miss many but the circumstance he was really upset with, getting that charge," Bellamy said.
The coach said there were differing views at the club about whether to fight the charge with Smith making the final call, unwilling to risk a two-match suspension should he contest it and be found guilty.
"We think he was really hard done by as well but he thought it was the safe way to take that early plea," Bellamy said.
The Storm met with the NRL match review committee, who explained their thinking on the charge, although it didn't change Melbourne's view.
"They were good enough to come down and explain their side of it so it's a little bit clearer, but we still think the penalty was a little bit harsh but you just roll with the punches," Bellamy said.
Bulldogs-turned-Storm duo Dale Finucane and Sam Kasiano could both be playing their 150th NRL games, with Kasiano aiming for a place on the bench after being suspended last game.