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Storm wary of Sharks' Carney Origin snub

Melbourne are wary that Cronulla playmaker Todd Carney will still be stinging from his State of Origin snub when the NRL sides meet at AAMI Park on Sunday night.
Storm wary of Sharks' Carney Origin snub
by AAP

By Melissa Woods

MELBOURNE, June 8 AAP - Melbourne are wary that Cronulla playmaker Todd Carney will still be stinging from his State of Origin snub when the NRL sides meet at AAMI Park on Sunday night.

The Blues incumbent five-eighth Carney was overlooked in favour of James Maloney, who was integral in NSW winning the opening Origin clash on Wednesday night.

Storm coach Craig Bellamy said Carney could feel like he had a point to prove.

"Todd will probably be out to try and prove a few people wrong about his Origin non-selection," said Bellamy.

"Everyone thought at the start of the year that they were going to be one of the teams to beat and I think they're back to that form now."

But Cronulla coach Shane Flanagan felt Carney worked any frustration out of his system when he helped orchestrate their grinding 14-12 win over competition frontrunners South Sydney in their last game.

It was the Sharks' fourth successive victory.

He said Carney wouldn't make it personal

"I think he dealt with it before the Souths game, which was the day after they picked the team," Flanagan said.

The Sharks have Luke Lewis and Andrew Fifita backing up from Origin with their skipper Paul Gallen banned for a week for punching Queensland's Nate Myles.

The Storm's four representatives, including Maroons skipper Cameron Smith, will all play.

The Storm have extra incentive to deliver a win for Smith's 250th NRL game.

He's been at the club even longer than Bellamy.

"Cameron genuinely cares about the club and he's a real team man and an outstanding captain," said Storm football manager Frank Ponissi.

"We make those players feel very special with milestone games and their teammates really do lift."

Melbourne were boosted on Saturday by re-signing four young players, with Mahe Fonua, Kenny Bromwich, Slade Griffin and Jordan McLean extending their contracts with the club.

Ponissi said the re-signings were an integral part of the Storm's retention strategy for 2014 and beyond.

"Retention is always a focus for the club and we are very pleased to have these players re-commit to Melbourne Storm.

"These players are exciting talents and the future of the club. Our playing roster consists of a strong mix of senior players, a core group who have played over 70 games and the youth we have coming through our system," Ponissi said.

The Storm's development program is likely to produce more Victorian talent, with 55 players across their squads at under-16s, 18s, 20s and NRL level boasting Victorian heritage.

In further good news for Melbourne, the club said discussions with Justin O'Neill's management were progressing well, with the centre poised to re-sign in the coming week.


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