Stathi Paxinos August 19, 2012
MELBOURNE Storm has shown that one club's discard can be its gem and it is hoping its latest recruit, unwanted Newcastle centre Junior Sa'u, will prove that again, Storm football operations manager Frank Ponissi said yesterday.
Storm yesterday confirmed it had signed a one-year deal with Sa'u as a replacement for Queensland state-of-origin representative Dane Nielsen, who will move to the New Zealand Warriors next year.
Sa'u is in the first year of a two-year contract with the Knights but he was dropped after Newcastle's 50-24 loss to Brisbane on June 3. It is believed the Knights will pay part of his salary for next year.
Ponissi said although Sa'u was not playing at the level of a couple of seasons ago, his attitude indicated that he could follow the long list of discarded players who have rebuilt careers in Melbourne.
''He is very much in the Melbourne Storm profile in terms of a player who is looking for another opportunity to further his career,'' Ponissi said.
''Usually when you offer only a one-year deal players [are worried that] the security won't be there but he just wants to come into the system and back himself and we like that, we really do. A couple of years ago he was on fire. The last year and a bit he's gone a bit quiet, more so this year than last, but that happens in the middle of people's careers. A change of scenery sometimes is the best thing for them.''
Ponissi also said the club was confident that prop Bryan Norrie would not be charged by the match review committee after he was placed on report during Friday night's 19-18 win against Brisbane for an elbow to the head of Broncos captain Sam Thaiday.
Meanwhile, Storm prop Jaiman Lowe said the win in Queensland was what the club needed. The Storm has bounced back from five consecutive losses to win its past three games.
Lowe said coach Craig Bellamy described the Broncos game as close to semi-finals intensity and Lowe expected the final two games of the regular season, against Cronulla and Wests Tigers, would be the same.
''We have two tough games coming up against teams who are fighting to get into the top eight so they're going to be desperate and they're probably going to be a similar sort of atmosphere so that can only aid us in the future,'' Lowe said.
Storm skipper Cameron Smith said half-back Cooper Cronk's kicking game was back on target after he set up a 40-20, a rebound off the goal post for his own try, winger Sisa Waqa's second four-pointer and the match-winning field goal.
''The last few weeks he's been back to his best where he is putting them on a 10 cent piece out there and the boys just need to run onto them,'' Smith said.