Howe � who has been playing with the Storm�s feeder club Brisbane Norths for the past two weeks - was named on an extended bench as possible cover for prop Alex Chan, who was today charged with a grade three careless high tackle on the Cowboys� Michael Luck, during the Storm�s 22-point win last week.
If Chan is suspended it will open the door for either Howe or Antonio Kaufusi, both of whom were added to the Storm bench along with outside back Dustin Cooper and second-rower Glen Turner, who is returning from a calf injury.
The Storm has lost back-rower Peter Robinson with a knee injury this week but will regain skipper Stephen Kearney who was rested against the Cowboys following last Friday�s Anzac Test match.
Storm coach Craig Bellamy admits the loss of Robinson is disappointing and believes the Warriors will be keen to put aside recent controversies after enjoying the bye round last week.
��Robbo� has been going pretty well for us so that�s a bit of a loss but it will be good to have Steve back,� Bellamy added.
�It would have been nice to have that size there because I imagine after a week off the Warriors would have sorted some of their issues out, so I�m sure they will be ready to play on Sunday.�
Dallas Johnson will start in the second row in Robinson�s absence.
Smith made a sparkling debut for the Maroons in game three of last year�s series � he went on the pick up the Players� Player award � and has been in outstanding form for the Storm so far this year.
Fullback Slater has also been impressive in just his second season in the NRL this year and will be looking to outpoint Penrith�s Rhys Wesser for the Queensland the No.1 jersey.
�Selection certainly wasn�t something I expected, it has been mentioned in the media a little bit and it�s been in the back of my mind but you don�t play for it,� Slater said.
�Being only 20 years old it is still a bit of a dream for me but it feels good to be selected in the preliminary squad. I�m not getting too excited just yet, obviously the selectors have picked two fullbacks and Lockyer is there as well, so I haven�t really made anything yet.
�Even though I�m not scoring as many tries as last year I think I�m doing the little things right this year, I�m trying to cut the mistakes out of my game and trying to play consistent football.� MELBOURNE STORM TEAM TO PLAY THE NEW ZEALAND WARRIORS, SUNDAY MAY 2, AT ERICSSON STADIUM (2PM):
1. Billy Slater 2. Matt Geyer 3. Steven Bell 4. Ben MacDougall 5. Matt King 6. Scott Hill 7. Matt Orford 8. Robbie Kearns 9. Cameron Smith 10. Alex Chan 11. Dallas Johnson 12. Stephen Kearney (c) 13. David Kidwell
14. Danny Williams 15. Kirk Reynoldson 16. Glen Turner 17. Ryan Hoffman 18. Rodney Howe 19. Antonio Kaufusi 20. Dustin Cooper
IN: Stephen Kearney, Glen Turner, Rodney Howe, Antonio Kaufusi, Dustin Cooper (three to be omitted) OUT: Peter Robinson (knee)
STORM TRAINING THIS WEEK: Wednesday: 11am, Olympic Park Thursday: 1.30pm, Olympic Park Saturday: 9.30pm, New Zealand (venue TBA)
For further information contact James Avery: Phone (03) 9421 3222 Mobile: 0411 623 024 [email protected]