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NRL: Nikorima handed Storm chance

Jayden Nikorima has a great chance to stake a claim for a place in the Melbourne Storm side that will begin the NRL season, when he plays in Saturday's trial match against the Warriors.

The Storm lost last season's grand final against the Penrith Panthers and are priced at 9/2 to make up for the disappointment by winning the premiership in 2022.

Key men missing

Storm coach Craig Bellamy will be missing key players for the opening match of the season against the Wests Tigers as Brandon Smith, Harry Grant and star five-eighth Cameron Munster are all suspended.

It means spots are up for grabs and Nikorima, who has been impressing in pre-season, could be handed one of them.

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The 25-year-old is a contender to fill the interchange utility role which has been left vacant by the departure of Nicho Hynes to the Cronulla Sharks.

But he could be in from the start if he catches the eye while playing alongside Cooper Johns in the halves in Saturday's hit-out against the Warriors.

"Jayden Nikorima has played dummy-half before," Bellamy told reporters ahead of the game. "A couple of other guys that have come from other clubs or were with us the last half of last year, they've played a little bit of dummy-half but not a lot.

"We'll give a couple of guys a go (on Saturday) and see how we go with it."

Tongan cause

Meanwhile Saturday's trial will raise funds for those communities impacted by the volcanic eruptions that hit Tonga in January and Bellamy says George Jennings will skipper the side.

"You don't usually see wingers being captains, you don't usually see quiet blokes being captains," Bellamy added.

"George is a very quiet bloke on the field, but he's a very proud Tongan and hopefully everybody at the game tomorrow will be very generous in their donations for the Tongan cause."

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