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Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Munster to fill leadership void left by Slater retirement

Melbourne five-eighth Cameron Munster wants to assume the leadership role previously held by Billy Slater as the Storm seek to continue their remarkable run of winning matches in September.
The loss of Slater, Tim Glasby and Ryan Hoffman at the end of 2018 leaves a void in the experience department for a side that hasn’t finished worse than sixth since 2003.
Munster – who re-signed with Melbourne until the end of 2023 in the off-season – is up for the challenge of replacing what the likes of Slater and Hoffman had offered.
"I think I have to be a bit more of a leader with Bill now gone," Munster said on Wednesday.
"I will need to talk a bit more, organise and shape things a little bit more and I will probably get the ball in my hands a bit more too.
"In saying that, if I try too hard, or think too hard I feel like I won’t play my best football, so I have just got to let it flow at times."
The pectoral injury set to keep anointed No.1 Scott Drinkwater sidelined for up to four months won’t alter the Melbourne plan of Munster starting the year in the five-eighth jersey.
"Craig and I have had a chat and the best thing for our team is playing at six," he said.
"We have got some depth at fullback, so we should be OK. We just need someone to step up and hopefully Jahrome Hughes can do that.”
The 24-year-old, who has added four appearances for Queensland to the 89 games he has played in Storm colours, said the 2019 pre-season included Bellamy revisiting some of the drills he used when Slater, Cooper Cronk and co. were still cutting their teeth in the top grade.
"Whether it be hills or the wrestle, [he has been] showing the young guys how he used to do it when he was coaching Billy and Cooper back in 2004 and 2005,” he said.
"It's been one of the hardest pre-seasons I have had … I have lost a couple of kilos as well."
A round one meeting with the Broncos is sure to provide Munster and his teammates with an early indication of how successful their off-season has been.
The appointment of Anthony Seibold as Broncos coach will provide another subplot to the contest.
"Anthony had a really good year at Souths last year and, hopefully they play good all year apart from in round one," Munster said.
"They have got two good halves in Anthony Milford and Kodi Nikorima and if anyone can get those two going, it is Anthony Seibold."