Storm get unwelcome send-off from Raiders

STATHI PAXINOS
Last updated 11:55 09/02/2013

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The Melbourne Storm will head to Britain for their world club challenge clash against Leeds on the back of not only a poor loss to Canberra in Friday's night's trial game but possibly without three senior players.

Regular starters Matt Duffie and Kevin Proctor were struck with right hamstring and left knee injuries respectively, while Maurice Blair suffered a blow to his left cheek during a loss that assistant coach Kevin Walters blasted for players' poor attitudes.

The three players, who will undergo scans on Saturday, are now in extreme doubt for the squad that leaves for Britain on Monday.

Most concern appears to surround Proctor who has suspected medial knee ligament damage with Walters saying he had been told by medical staff that the injury is ''a bad one''.

The trial was doubling as the final chance for several players to earn their places in the team that will be announced on Saturday.

The game provided little to get excited about, especially in the first half when the Raiders five tries for a 28-4 lead. The Storm's defence was opened surprisingly easily at times, something that would not have pleased coach Craig Bellamy, who was watching on after returning from the camp of the Indigenous All Stars. The Raiders' attacking weapons had a field day with Sandor Earl and Dimitri Pelo scoring doubles while Josh Dugan, Josh Papalli, Haydon Hodge and Edrick Lee also scored tries.

The Storm's touring squad will be strengthened by the return of Cameron Smith and Justin O'Neill after the All Stars game and Cooper Cronk from injury, while Billy Slater will be all the better for his 20-minute game time.

Walters said he could not excuse the poor preparation that some players had put before the game.

''I know we had some guys missing but [it was] very disappointing from our point of view to put up a performance like that, particularly defensively,'' he said. ''It's been one of the strong trademarks of the Storm and today it was not existent, most of it to attitude but a little bit of the new interpretations of the rules as well which made it more difficult.''

''I think we are where we need to be, but I think it was a good wake up call to everyone after what happened last year [winning the premiership] and I think it was particularly good this time of the year to see that unfold when it is a trial game, so from that perspective it's been a really good reminder to everyone, [both] playing and coaching staff.''

The Raiders also had an injury concern with Jarrod Crocker hurting a knee. However, Raiders coach David Furner said the injury was looking ''not too severe''. ''We [do not] know the extent of the strain, whether it's a grade one or grade two but he obviously he had to come off,'' he said. ''I think it should be right for the start of the season from what I've been told but scans will let us know.''

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- The Age

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