Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy has joked Queensland have wrapped emerging hooker Harry Grant in cotton wool ahead of next month’s State of Origin opener.
The Storm coach declared him all but recovered from a hamstring injury, with Grant training strongly on Wednesday despite not being named to face Brisbane on Thursday.
Queensland’s Origin concerns at the Storm deepened on Wednesday with Maroons prop Christian Welch ruled out of the Brisbane clash with a swollen knee.
The injury is not considered to be serious but it comes after Grant and Queensland No.6 Cameron Munster (foot) missed the last two games.
Bellamy confirmed on Wednesday Grant had recovered the quicker of the two.
“He trained strongly today, I think the Queenslanders want to save him up for Origin,” Bellamy joked from their Sunshine Coast base on Wednesday.
“It would have been a tough ask to ask him to play (on Thursday) … although he’s recovered more quickly than what we thought at the start.
“It was a bad tear but he got through all that (captain’s run) really well and he’s pretty much ready to go from there.”
Munster is more of a concern ahead of the series opener at the MCG on June 9.
“It’s come along pretty slowly,” Bellamy said of his foot injury.
“He’s not back in the running rehab group yet … sometimes those things take a little bit of time and it gets to a certain point and comes good quickly.”
The Storm will return to Suncorp Stadium riding an unrivalled surge of NRL form, winning their last eight games by at least 13 points.
Bellamy is yet to make a decision on his coaching future but on Wednesday new CEO Justin Rodski told SEN Radio he hoped to lock him in when the side eventually returns to Melbourne.
“I’m certainly very confident and hopeful that (our coach in 2022) will be Craig Bellamy,” Rodski said.
“Those discussions continue, we’re very optimistic and confident that he’ll be at the helm again next year.
“Obviously, this will be fantastic for our club, he’ll coach his 500th game next year.
“That’s an incredible achievement for anyone and well and truly will cement his place in the game as one of the greatest ever coaches.”