How Storm hopefuls went head-to-head

Melbourne Storm may have lost their past two NRL games, however they have a considerable amount of young talent waiting for an opportunity in the Intrust Super Cup.

In Round 22, Storm feeder clubs Easts Tigers and Sunshine Coast Falcons went head-to-head on the Sunshine Coast.

There was a huge amount of NRL talent, and experience on show, with over 300 games of NRL experience between the two sides.

At fulltime only two points separated the clubs, after Brodie Croft kicked a penalty goal in the 68th minute.

While this Intrust Super Cup clash was a tale of two halves (literally), it was intriguing to see Melbourne's future stars, go up against each other.

Interestingly enough, there were several key match-up's that took place in this 'Melbourne Derby', with Ryan Papenhuyzen going up against Scott Drinkwater (fullback), Ryley Jacks against Brodie Croft (halfback), and Brandon Smith against Harry Grant (hooker).

This match-up was particularly relevant for the future of Melbourne Storm, with Billy Slater's and Cameron Smith's retirements imminent, and Cooper Cronk having left the club.

While Cronk departed the club at the end of 2017, Storm still haven't found a consistent halves pairing, after rotating Croft (7 Games), Jacks (12 Games) and Jahrome Hughes (5 Games), throughout the 2018 NRL season.

For Cam Smith, Brandon Smith seems like the obvious choice, given he's spent a large part of the season coming off the bench in the NRL. However, do not rule out QLD U20s representative Grant, who has taken the Intrust Super Cup by storm in season 2018.

Cam Munster's recent form in the halves for both Queensland and Melbourne Storm, poses the question: Is it worth moving Munster back to fullback in 2019, or does Craig Bellamy hand Drinkwater, Papenhuyzen, or even Hughes the number 1 jersey?

Take a look below to see how these players fared head-to-head in Round 22 of the Intrust Super Cup:

FULLBACK:

Ryan Papenhuyzen (Sunshine Coast)
- RUN M: 114m
- TRY ASSISTS: 1
- TACKLEBREAKS: 7
- LINEBREAKS: 2
- KICK M: 98m

Scott Drinkwater (Easts)
- RUN M: 117m
- TRY ASSISTS: 0
- TACKLEBREAKS: 4
- LINEBREAKS: 1
- KICK M: 86m

HALFBACK:

Ryley Jacks (Sunshine Coast)
- TRIES: 1
- GOALS: 0
- TRY ASSISTS: 1
- RUN M: 59m
- KICK M: 131m

Brodie Croft (Easts)
- TRIES: 0
- GOALS: 5
- TRY ASSISTS: 0
- RUN M: 90m
- KICK M: 227m

HOOKER:
Harry Grant (Sunshine Coast)
- TRIES: 1
- MINUTES: 52
- RUN M: 25m
- TRY ASSISTS: 1
- KICK M: 17m
- TACKLES: 33

Brandon Smith (Easts)
- TRIES: 1
- MINUTES: 75
- RUN M: 110m
- TRY ASSISTS: 1
- KICK M: 14
- TACKLES: 30