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Melbourne must stop Cronk NRL candidates

NZ Newswire logoNZ Newswire 19/04/2017 Scott Bailey

Cameron Munster can see value in either of the Warriors' dynamic NRL halves Kieran Foran or Shaun Johnson playing alongside him next year in the No.7 jersey for Melbourne.

But, he is concerned about finding a way to stop one of the most-successful halves pairings in the game on Anzac Day at AAMI Park.

Foran and Johnson have played just three games together at club level - having won two of them - but their five-year-old combination for New Zealand shows the past month has been no fluke.

The two Kiwis have a 12-3 record when paired together, including Test matches.

And that form has continued into club football, with the duo threatening to turn the Warriors' struggling season around on the back of Foran's club debut in round five.

It's part of the reason why Munster believes either of the off-contract stars would fit into the Storm's system next year as a replacement for Sydney-bound Cooper Cronk.

"Foran is a really good player and similar to Coops, structure-wise," Munster said.

"Everyone will welcome him if he does come next year.

"Johnson's a little bit different - a little bit off the cuff. Anything can happen with him. He can do freakish things."

Johnson has previously denied any links to the Storm, and it appears unlikely he will end up in Melbourne colours.

But Foran is reportedly keen to tour the club's facilities in the coming week.

The former Manly and Parramatta star is desperate to move closer to his children in Sydney after a turbulent year off the field.

Munster, though, is prepared to dismiss any suggestions of either player joining him as merely "talk", and is more concerned with how to counteract the pair in defence.

The 22-year-old also has to tie up the No.6 jersey himself.

After training there in the pre-season, he filled in for the injured Billy Slater at the back to start the year before breaking his jaw in the regular fullback's return match.

Returning last week in the halves and centres off the bench, he has again been listed as interchange behind five-eighth Ryley Jacks.

"He's played really well in that No.6 position and keeping me on my toes," Munster said.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy said Munster could hold his head high last week after the Storm conceded 26 points in their win over Manly - their equal-worst defensive effort since 2015.

The performance came after Bellamy criticised their attacking completions against Cronulla, but Munster said the focus this week was back on defence.

"He loves his defence and prides himself on it," Munster said of Bellamy.

"It wasn't up to scratch for us."

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