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Storm back Meaney to cover for Papenhuyzen

By Melissa Woods
Melbourne are backing Nick Meaney to provide adequate cover for injured fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen. (AAP)

After spending the pre-season pretending to be Ryan Papenhuyzen, Nick Meaney's chance at Melbourne fullback arrives in the biggest game of their NRL season when they take on champions Penrith in Magic Round.

Meaney spent much of pre-season training at the back, with Papenhuyzen sidelined with an ankle injury.

He has been ruled out for at least the next month with knee and hamstring injuries, with Bulldogs recruit Meaney now stepping into the role.

Storm halfback Jahrome Hughes said he'd seen enough of Meaney, who has been in career-best form playing on the wing, to back him against the Panthers on Saturday night.

"Obviously Paps (Papenhuyzen) had a bit of injury in the pre-season, so Nick's done a lot of work there and we have confidence.

"Nick is going to take a lot of confidence - he's been great," Hughes said.

"He's been great all year - he's been thrown in a couple of different positions.

"I know he's normally a fullback but he's played on the wing and in the halves for us so it will be good for him to get his time at fullback."

Former fullback Hughes said he didn't "have the run" in his legs to wear the No.1 again, plus he wasn't too keen on trying to field Nathan Cleary's torpedo bombs.

He said they would dust off the kicking simulator from the pre-season to try to help Meaney prepare for the onslaught from the Panthers' No.7.

"I think we got a machine that we can use to hopefully interpret what Nathan can do," Hughes said.

"We've used it in the pre-season a few times, so we probably definitely need it with the way Nathan is kicking so hopefully it can help Means out a bit."

Marion Seve is the other new face in the Storm backline, brought in to cover the loss of centre Reimis Smith who requires surgery on a torn pectoral and will be out for around three months.

Seve suffered a serious knee injury midway through 2020 and only managed two NRL games late last season.

"It's good to see him playing - he has had had a pretty tough couple years," Hughes said.

"Obviously, it's devastating to see what happened to Reimis but hopefully Maz (Seve) can get his opportunity and do a great job."

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Dive Deeper:
Storm considering surprise Munster move
Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy says playing Cameron Munster at fullback is an option for the Storm's NRL Magic Round top-of-the-table…
Papenhuyzen out for up to six NRL matches
Melbourne fullback Ryan Papenhuyzen will be missing for four-to-six weeks after scans revealed a posterior cruciate ligament injury as well…
Penrith Panthers make it look easy against an injury-hit Storm in a Magic Round game that couldn't live up to the hype
Penrith vs Melbourne has been marked on every NRL fan's calendar since 2020. Unfortunately, just like last year, regular-season meetings…
Panthers crush Storm, go top of NRL ladder
Penrith have made all the running at a rain-soaked Suncorp Stadium to beat Melbourne 32-6 to go top of the…
One subscription that gives you access to news from hundreds of sites
Penrith Panthers thrash Melbourne Storm 32-6 in NRL Magic Round as Gold Coast and South Sydney record victories
Penrith dominates Melbourne Storm 32-6 in wet and slippery conditions in Brisbane, while Gold Coast and South Sydney earlier won…
Storm cop NRL reality check from Panthers
Melbourne were given a crash landing after a blistering early season start in their Magic Round loss to Penrith.
Get all your news in one place