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NRL: Storm hit by double blow

Melbourne Storm will be without Ryan Papenhuyzen for at least two weeks, while Reimis Smith will be on the sidelines for up to 12 weeks with a torn pectoral.

The Storm are top of the NRL ladder and are priced at 17/20 to go on and reach the NRL grand final. Next up they face the second-placed Panthers but will have to do it without two key players.

Double setback

The Storm romped to a 42-6 win against the Dragons on Sunday but the victory came at a cost with both Papenhuyzen and
Smith picking up injuries.

The injury to Smith is the most severe, while Papenhuyzen has picked up knee and hamstring injuries and has left coach Craig
Bellamy without a fullback.

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"If I'd known what I know now, I definitely would have taken him off, we knew he wasn't gonna be involved like he is with the ball, but we were only 12 points up, (we thought he could) just sort our defence," Bellamy told reporters after the game.

"I'm not quite sure, with that knee, even if he hadn't got the hamstring whether he'd be playing the next couple of weeks anyway. So he's got a couple of injuries to deal with, so we have to find ourselves a fullback for the next couple of weeks."

Bellamy praise

Despite the scoreline, Bellamy said the injuries did have an impact on his side and has saluted the players for digging in to get the job done.

"I don't think we played our best the whole 80 minutes, but they really dug in," Bellamy added. "Our defensive performance was as good as it's been all year, so for me that that's a really good sign.

"When you are doing it tough and you get a couple of injuries, how you apply yourself to defence, if you do that pretty well that's a really good sign."

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