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Munster set to join Cronk in Storm halves

NZ NewswireNZ Newswire 7/10/2016 James MacSmith

Grand finalists Melbourne will boast one of the most exciting halves combinations in the NRL next year with Cameron Munster set to join Cooper Cronk at the Storm scrumbase.

Blake Green's defection to Manly has left the five-eighth slot open at the Storm and Cronk said Munster, one of the game's best up and comers, looms as his probable partner.

Munster had an exceptional season this year, filling in for Billy Slater at fullback for minor premiers Melbourne, who lost the premiership decider to Cronulla.

With Slater set to return from a long-term shoulder injury next year, Cronk said Storm coach Craig Bellamy will likely shift Munster into a frontline playmaking role.

"I still rate Billy Slater as the best fullback in the game and there is big chance he will be back next year and contributing to our footy team and there might be a shift for Cameron Munster to a different position," Cronk told AAP.

"I am not part of our recruitment strategy but in terms of other options (at five-eighth) I'm not really sure.

"But Cameron had a great year for us this year and he is great young player."

Cronk scoffed at reports Slater was close to a return this year during the final series.

But he said Slater was leaving no stone unturned to ensure he would be fit for 2017.

Slater played seven games last year before suffering a season-ending shoulder injury. The former Queensland and Australia fullback managed just one game this year, the season opener against St George Illawarra, before succumbing to shoulder trouble again and being ruled out for the season.

"He is tracking along OK. He is in a good headspace," Cronk said.

"I know Billy very well and he is so determined and so professional in his approach to football next year that he will be doing everything to get back out there."

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