Storm to rest stars, put NRL finals first

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Melbourne will fix their eyes on the first Sunday in October rather than a fourth NRL minor premiership in six years, with Craig Bellamy to rest players in their regular season finale against Cronulla.

The Storm's shock 22-10 loss to Parramatta on Saturday night not only denied them a record-setting 20th straight win but opened the door up for Penrith to snatch top spot.

The Panthers could snatch first place if they beat Wests Tigers and the Eels in the final two rounds and the Storm fall to Cronulla next week.

Melbourne coach Craig Bellamy had long planned to rest players in the round-25 game against the Sharks, with most assuming the minor premiership would be locked in by then.

The Storm sat 12 players against St George Illawarra in the last week before finals last year, given they could not improve on second spot at the time.

And even with a minor premiership on the line, Bellamy said that plan would not change next week.

"We'll look at what we think is best for the week after (in the first week of the finals)," Bellamy said.

"It might be that we need another game together after tonight.

"I think we will stick to our plan and rest a few guys. Whatever we think is going to have us ready best for the first week is what we will do.

"But we have some work to do."

Bellamy remarked last week that some of his charges felt that stalled their momentum before the finals, but coaching staff could still see the bigger benefit of resting players.

Regardless, at least one decision was made for him.

Jesse Bromwich will miss at least one game for a crusher tackle, while Harry Grant (hip drop tackle) and Brandon Smith (careless high tackle) both copped fines.

Bromwich will miss one game with an early guilty plea but an unsuccessful challenge at the judiciary will cost him two weeks.

Josh Addo-Carr limped from the field in the defeat to the Eels with a left hamstring injury.

"Josh is not too bad, but it's only two weeks to the finals," Bellamy said.

"If he has a hamstring problem he will struggle to play."

Meanwhile, there is every chance Penrith could also rest players in the final round while Parramatta coach Brad Arthur has confirmed he will sit out some stars for that clash.

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