Hughes, Papenhuyzen named to return for Storm

Melbourne Storm have named injured backs Jahrome Hughes and Ryan Papenhuyzen in their squad to face Canberra at AAMI Park on Saturday.

The NRL leaders lost both players before Sunday’s win over South Sydney with the pair staying in Melbourne to have treatment, as Hughes battled back spasms and Papenhuyzen dealt with a mid-foot sprain after being trod on the previous game.

The Raiders are another top-four contender following the Rabbitohs last round and the Green Machine will be further boosted by the return of elite centre Joey Leilua who has been out with a neck injury since early May.

Storm expect Jahrome Hughes to be fit enough to return against the Raiders on Saturday.Credit:AAP

While the Storm will closely observe both backs in the lead-up to the Raiders game they hope both will prove their fitness, while debutante full-back Nicho Hynes has been left out of the 21-man squad signalling they have confidence either Hughes or Papenhuyzen will be fit and able to start at full-back.

Hughes has had back issues earlier this season but overcame them within a week so he is expected to play unless the issue flares up, while the Storm will be cautious with Papenhuyzen as foot injuries can take longer to recover from.

Utility back Billy Walters, who came in for Papenhuyzen last game, is still in the extended squad so could again play if Papenhuyzen can't take his place.

The Storm have also kept Fijian forward Tui Kamikamica and emerging prop Tino Fa’asuamaleaui as bench players for Saturday's showdown after they replaced Christian Welch (knee) and Brandon Smith (ankle) last game, while forwards Max King and Tom Eisenhuth plus winger Sandor Earl are among the reserves should any other injuries arise.

Smith continues to recover from an ankle injury suffered during captain’s run last week and with his return unlikely until the eve of the finals, the Storm are still looking to see how to set out their bench for the first week of finals should he not be fit in time.

The Storm face Canberra at AAMI Park on Saturday at 5.30pm.

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