Smith’s warning for teammate Munster
CAMERON Smith says teammate Cameron Munster warrants being first cab off the rank for one of the Queensland halves spots despite being briefly called home from the World Cup by worried Storm coach Craig Bellamy.
Munster and Cowboy Michael Morgan, who played at five-eighth and centre respectively for Queensland in Origin III last year, are set to mark each other in the charity testimonial trial game in honour Smith and Johnathan Thurston on Friday week at Suncorp Stadium.
Munster left the Australian camp after a fracas involving fellow Kangaroo Ben Hunt and Bellamy said last week Munster has "some issues every now and then when he drinks alcohol''.
Maroons coach Kevin Walters said late last season Morgan was well placed to succeed Cooper Cronk as Queensland's halfback for the series - to be played without Cronk or Thurston - on the basis of his finals form for the Cowboys at No.7.
Asked if Munster and Morgan should be considered first in the queue for the Queensland halves spots entering the season, Smith said: "I think so. They both played in the last State of Origin game which we won quite well.
"They were both involved in the World Cup and they are quality players. I think they will be looking out for a big start in their season.
"He (Munster) is a young guy and most young people get into some sort of mischief when they are younger.
"He's a good young kid. I truly believe that. We all know he is a wonderful footballer.
"Once he gets his off-field (behaviour) right as well as his on-field stuff, he can be a special player for Queensland if he wants to. He just has to make sure he applies himself properly.''
The Storm have their second pre-season game on Friday night in the World Club Challenge game against Leeds and their last outing in the testimonial game against the Cowboys.
Smith said he will be available to play Leeds and anticipates Queensland halfback Brodie Croft, 20, will also make his first pre-season appearance on Friday.
Smith has been back at training for two weeks after the World Cup and said he thought Croft was "just ahead'' in the battle to get first crack in the premiership season at the spot vacated by Cronk.
"He has more weight on his shoulders, getting the chance to wear the No. 7,'' Smith said.
"The WCC is a pretty important game and I'm thinking he'll get the nod for that match. Ryley Jacks played No. 6 last year and we know he will be willing and able. Jahrome Hughes is a good young player.
"I'm used to having that familiar face of Cooper Cronk there for 14 years. He's not there and we are doing our very best to move on.
"Brodie has been quite good but the other two boys are putting pressure on him to play that position.''