Cameron Munster backs himself to step up in 2019

“I haven’t spoken to him about it. [Earlier in pre-season] We had a bit of a discussion, me and Bellyache [Bellamy], we just feel that the best thing for the team is me playing at No. 6 [five-eighth].

“We have some good young talent coming through like Drinky, Jahrome Hughes and we have Ryan Papenhuyzen, who is playing some good footy.

“We have some depth there and hopefully I can play some good footy and give those kind of guys some space around the edges.”

Munster said Bellamy put the team through a punishing pre-season, going harder on his younger group with Slater retired and Cameron Smith on leave.

“Bellyache has gone old school at times whether having us running hills or on the wrestle,” Munster said.

“I guess he has been showing the boys how he did it when he was coaching Billy, Cooper and that in 2004 or 2005. It’s been as hard a pre-season as I’ve had since I came down here. I’ve lost a couple of kilos as well.”

The Storm and Broncos have changed from last season and both are hopeful of being in the premiership race once again.

“I’m pretty confident – the only players we lose is Billy Slater and Tim Glasby,” Munster said.

“I know they were two handy players, especially Bill, and it’s a tough blow but it will just be about other people stepping up, my taking on more of a role, and some other players like Will Chambers, Jesse Bromwich and Dale Finucane going up another notch this year and fill the void of Bill.

“That will let the younger boys have a slow transition and hopefully when their time comes they can put the hammer down and help us have a good back end of the year.”

The Storm take on Brisbane Broncos at AAMI Park next Thursday at 7.50pm.

Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.

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