No last-minute switch for Munster
MELBOURNE Storm playmaker Cameron Munster has all but ruled out a shock return to fullback ahead of next Thursday night's NRL season-opener against Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park.
Jahrome Hughes looks set to get first crack in the No.1 jersey vacated by retired icon Billy Slater last year with young gun Scott Drinkwater (torn pectoral) sidelined for up to 12 weeks.
Munster broke out in 2015-16 at fullback, replacing a then injured Slater, before premiership mastermind Craig Bellamy converted the Rockhampton export into a five-eighth.
Despite wrestling with the change the shift paid dividends for premiership-winner Munster, who went on to star for Queensland and Australia in the No. 6 jersey.
"I haven't spoken to him (Bellamy) about it," Munster said.
"(We) just feel the best thing for our team is me playing at six.
"We need someone to step up and hopefully Jahrome can fill that void.
"I know he's played some really good footy last year so fingers crossed he can do the job again."
Munster said losing Drinkwater on the eve of the season will not impact combinations in the backfield either.
Hughes played 11 games last year including six at fullback.
"Jahrome is really good at running the ball and Drinky is really good with his ball skills, and he's got speed to burn too, they've got different strengths but we can change our structure for them and hopefully it comes to fruition and we play really well in Round 1."
Hughes missed large chunks of the pre-season due to international commitments with New Zealand and last month's NRL All-Star Game.
Melbourne is primed to start strongly next week despite losing both pre-season trial games after the "hardest pre-season" of Munster's career.
"I'm excited (for Round 1 because) we've been getting flogged for the last 15-16 weeks pretty hard," Munster said.
"Bellyache (Bellamy) has gone old school at times, whether it be hills or the wrestle, just showing the young boys, I guess, how he did it when he was coaching Billy and Cooper and that in 2004-05.
"It was really good and refreshing for some of us young blokes that haven't done hills in that regard... it's pretty good and (I've) lost a couple kilos so it's a bonus."