15/04/2024
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Nicho Hynes in action for Melbourne Storm. Photo: Melbourne Storm Instagram.

Melbourne Storm's supporting act are proving why they deserve a regular starting position as they fill in for their side's big outs.

The Melbourne Storm supporting act including the likes of Justin Olam, Nicho Hynes and Christian Welch will once again all start on-field as their side takes on the Canberra Raiders tonight at GIO Stadium; proving that the depth of the side is as talented as ever.

Olam, Hynes and Welch are among Storm’s players who have stepped up, while Ryan Papenhuyzen, Harry Grant and Cameron Munster have all been sidelined – and are proving to be suitable replacements as Storm work through their injury woes.

Papenhuyzen won’t line up tonight as he overcomes concussion symptoms from a knock in last week’s clash against St George, giving Hynes another chance to line up in the full-back position.

The 24-year-old has been in some of his best form, stepping up at various stages to replace Papenhuyzen who has only played six games of the season. Down back, Hynes’ tackle efficiency is at 88.7 per cent for the 37 tackles he has laid. Hynes has also assisted in attack, contributing nine try assists, and 12 line break assists.

His form though has attracted attention from the Brisbane Broncos and if Hynes is looking for a regular starting position in full-back, a mid-season transfer may be something worth considering.

Hynes filling in for Papenhuyzen though is only part of the requirement from the players stepping into the starting 15.

Welch will be busy staying in form not only for Storm but proving why he deserves to be the Maroon’s prop for a fourth time come State of Origin this year. With Isaiah Papali’I suspended, the Maroons lose 18 games of experience to their side. With 10 games under his belt, Welch is currently the Maroon’s top pick up front for Origin I.

For the Storm, Welch has been exceptional as prop. His best game against the Cronulla Sharks saw him across 55 minutes of game time make three tackle breaks, lay 18 tackles (missing none), and run a total of 208 metres. Overall, he has made three tackle breaks, laid 275 tackles at an 89 per cent efficiency and runs an average of 147 metres. There is no doubt of his work ethic.

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The contributions of Olam can neither be ignored. It has been a rewarding season for the number four, who among one of his best years at the club, was able to play his first Anzac Day game at AAMI park this year. It was in this game that he scored one of the Storm’s tries in their 42-20 win over the Warriors. He also assisted with one line-break, four tackle breaks and one hit up.

In all 10 of his appearances, Olam has also played all 80 minutes of game time, has scored five tries for the season and laid 114 tackles at an efficiency of 79.3 per cent.

Hynes, Welch and Olam now have the added responsibility of upholding this form as their club looks to make it not only eight in a row tonight, but fight for potentially a spot in the top two should Penrith Panthers and Parramatta Eels suffer a defeat at some stage this season.

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