Munster to miss NRL first round match for Melbourne Storm
IT hasn't been the start to the season Rockhampton's NRL star Cameron Munster was hoping for.
After being banned from possible Queensland State of Origin selection this season, after defying new Maroons coach Kevin Walters and breaking curfew from the Emerging Maroons camp, along with seven other players, Munster was then injured in last weekend's Auckland Nines.
Munster fell awkwardly in a tackle in the second half of the Melbourne Storm's quarter final win over the North Queensland Cowboys.
He limped from the field, which indicated his knee injury was not as serious as first thought, but he took no further part in the competition.
After returning to Melbourne, Munster had scans on Tuesday which confirmed the extent of the damage was to knee ligaments.
Melbourne Storm coach, Craig Bellamy was relieved it was not more serious and Munster had not damaged his Anterior Cruciate Ligament (ACL), which could have ruled him out for the season, as initially feared.
But the talented fullback, who had a stellar season at the back for the Storm last year as a replacement for the injured Billy Slater, will still be sidelined for at least four weeks.
And this time on the sidelines could extend to six weeks rehabilitation.
With the NRL's round one less than a month away, Munster is in doubt for the first two NRL games, including the season-opener against St George Illawarra.
But it could be more, according to Bellamy.
"It is going to be a bit of a stretch, I think it is going to be a bit longer than that (Round 1)," Bellamy said.
"It is not ideal, when it first happened we all probably thought the worse to be quite honest. It is bad enough but it could have been worse."
The Storm reached the semi-finals of the Auckland Nines, their best result for the southern club in the three years of the reduced format, pre-season competition.
"It was unfortunate with Cameron getting hurt, especially going into that semi-final, he would have been very handy in that," Bellamy said. "Obviously our concern now is getting ready for when the competition starts."