The Melbourne Storm are currently looking towards the future and tonight we will see a glimpse of that.
The Storm will have youngster Ben Hampton making his NRL debut at five-eighth against the Gold Coast Titans tonight. With current Storm five-eighth Gareth Widdop leaving the club at seasons end to join the St George/Illawarra Dragons, the position key position in the Storm lineup is up for grabs.
There are some big wraps on Hampton, who hails from Queensland (DAMN!). There has been some suggestions though that the Storm would be willing to tinker with their lineup a little more, and even try Billy Slater at five-eighth.
Slater plays a lot in the Storm line anyway. There is no doubt he has the passing game and footwork to be a very good five-eighth. It is a move Darren Lockyer made successfully and there is little doubt that Billy Slater could also make a successful move. The question is, why would you move possibly the best fullback in the world from his favoured position?
It would no surprise me at all if the Melbourne Storm have a gun youngster that is ready to step in an play fullback for the club. The Storm have the best talent scounting and junior development system in the game. When ever someone leaves the Storm, there is always someone we have never heard of who steps into first grade and hits the ground running.
The way Billy Slater plays the game at fullback, he puts himself through a lot of pubishment. Slater gets tested every week and he always gives 100%. Normally he bounces back without any problems, but the last couple of season have seen Slater go through periods where he looks less than 100% physically. A move to five-eighth may prolong Slaters career.
Craig Bellamy will already have all of this sorted out. He is the best coach and the best man manager in the game. He is one of the few coaches that could tell a player like Billy Slater that he wants to switch him to a different position and the player would have complete faith that that is the best move for them.
While this season its unlikely that Slater will be moved, the change may be coming next season. It will be interesting to see what the Storm does as it would be the first big move the club makes towards the post “Big Three” era.
Seeing a great player like Billy Slater move to five-eighth would be interesting, but seeing who the Storm bring in to play at fullback would be nothing short of be exciting!
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