By PARKER TAMBUA
MELBOURNE Storm centre Justin Olam has been rested for tonight’s National Rugby League (NRL) round-23 clash with hosts Gold Coast Titans at Cbus Super Stadium (7.50pm kick-off).
Storm general manager Frank Ponissi told The National yesterday that the Papua New Guinea Kumul had been rested alongside New Zealand international Brandon Smith in preparation for the finals.
Playmaker Jahrome Hughes and forward Dale Finucane will also miss the game through concussion.
Olam has played 21-straight games since his grand final appearance in the Storm’s premiership win over the Penrith Panthers at ANZ Stadium in Sydney last year.
The Chimbu native has scored 11 tries to add to his career total of 29.
“We are resting a number of players this week for the clash against the Titans and Olam is one of those players,” Ponissi said.
“Justin will return to the starting side next week for the game against the Parramatta Eels at Suncorp Stadium.”
The 27-year-old has played 59 NRL games since making debut in 2018. Olam has been in impressive form this season and is in the running for the Dally M centre of the year.
The former Lae Tiger is in line to make his third-straight finals appearance.
The one-time SP Hunter is also in line to make history as the first PNG player to win or play in more than one NRL grand final should the Craig Bellamy-coached Storm go deep into the final.
“Big thanks to all Storm fans in PNG for the continued support,” Olam told Storm TV on Tuesday.
“We are now heading into the finals and it’s the most crucial time of the season.
“I’m asking you all to continue your support and hopefully we can go all the way and make all of you proud.”
By PARKER TAMBUA