“I’m excited rather than concerned about Cameron’s game at fullback; I’m not stressed and don’t see the danger in putting him back there,” Slater told the Herald.
“To be honest, it’s more of a risk playing a 21-year-old and a guy who has played 30 or 40 games [like Ponga]. Cameron is a safer option.
“That’s nothing against Kalyn. Just Cameron gives me confidence back there. He’s got different traits to Kalyn Ponga. We pose a different threat to when Kalyn is at fullback. They’re different players.
I’m excited rather than concerned about Cameron’s game at fullback; I’m not stressed and don’t see the danger in putting him back there.
Billy Slater on Cameron Munster
“I do think we’re a really dangerous football team with Munster at fullback and Corey Norman at No.6.
“The way Mitchell Pearce and James Maloney kick balls, they put a lot of high balls up anyway, but Cameron is extremely capable under the high ball, and I have no concerns about that part of his game.
“He’s a really good fullback. It will be his preferred position and his most dangerous position.
“Looking at it on the surface, he’s a guy who hasn’t played in that position for a number of years, and you do have to run a lot more at fullback, but knowing Cameron Munster and the player he is, I have no concerns.
“I remember when Cameron first came into first grade, he just got it. He did all the little things that take a well-rounded fullback years and years to master.
“All the little positional plays, the effort plays, knowing the right spot to be, he just had it. He has a great football brain.”
Those sentiments were echoed by Maroons coach Kevin Walters who said of his new No.1: “Cameron is Cameron, he’s strong and athletic and a very aggressive type of player.
“Cameron is a backyard player. He’s one of those guys you pick in your team straight up because he’s a football player. He’s one of the first picked because he loves competing.
“I know the work he’s done this week. He’s done some extras around his training to manage the workload of a fullback. He’s fine and he’s ready to go.”
Fittler has always been a fan of Munster, the knockabout who famously declared in the lead-up to Origin II that he loved a ”beer and a punt”, comments which were deemed too colourful and sadly earned him a media ban in the lead-up to the Sydney game.
“I watch him train and he’s always the last one out there and always catching balls,” Fittler said on Tuesday.
“He’s a great football player. But he’ll have to catch them under pressure and with people coming down on him.
“He’s obviously been with Billy a lot and this week. I think he’ll be more dangerous around the ruck. That’s something Billy really promotes, and something Kalyn does as well. We’ll have to watch them around there and with Ben Hunt as well.”
Fittler said the Blues worked hard to get themselves in position to kick well in Perth.
Maloney said he was was not about to overhaul the game plan because of Munster’s shift.
“He’s played a fair bit of fullback in the past. It might have been a while ago, but I’m sure he can still catch [bombs],” Maloney said.
“You try to contain what they can do. Much like Kalyn, he’s a really strong ball-runner, so you want to limit the time and space you give him and make sure the kick-chase is on so you don’t give him any broken lines.”
Christian covers rugby league for The Sydney Morning Herald.