Storm linked with shock mid-season move for Nate Myles
MELBOURNE has targeted veteran Manly prop Nate Myles as an immediate solution to its front-row crisis before Sam Kasiano arrives as reinforcement next season.
Bulldogs big man Kasiano this week told teammates he won't be at Belmore in 2018 with a lucrative four-year Storm deal now to be signed off on after the bid was revealed a week ago, but Craig Bellamy has also sounded out 31-year-old Myles about a mid-season move south for the rest of 2017.
The 229-game veteran is contracted with the Sea Eagles until the end of next season, however it is understood he met with Bellamy recently after the Storm's dwindling big-man stocks were hit once more by Christian Welch's recent season-ending ACL rupture.
As it stands no contract has been tabled by the Storm, and an 18-month commitment would be needed to entice Myles away from Manly, with a release yet to be requested.
But Myles is understood to be open to a move given his wife Tessa's family is based in Melbourne and Bellamy's reputation for getting the best out of players that have struggled elsewhere.
Signed on a three-year deal reportedly worth $500,000 a season in 2015, the Sea Eagles are believed to be open to letting Myles go to free up salary cap space.
Myles labelled his 2016 form as "s***house" after making a high-profile move to the Northern Beaches from the Titans, and has battled ongoing knee injuries for the past two years.
He has been named on Manly's bench for this week's clash with the Gold Coast side he once skippered, and is under immense pressure to keep his Queensland spot for game one in a fortnight's time.
Averaging 36 minutes, 77 run metres and 18 tackles a game this season, Myles has the likes of Dylan Napa, Jarrod Wallace and Coen Hess gunning for him, though he has never let the Maroons down over the past decade and a stellar 31-game career.
The Storm are cashed up and short on forwards with Jordan McLean and Tohu Harris set to follow Kevin Proctor out the door by season's end.
They have had to get by in recent weeks without Welch, the suspended Jesse Bromwich and promising Kiwi behemoth Nelson Asofa-Solomona after he suffered a broken hand against the Dragons.
Bromwich is set to return from his two-game drug suspension against Newcastle in round 13, while the club is confident it has Kasiano in the bag for next season after he and his management met with Bellamy and toured Melbourne's facilities on Monday.
Kasiano is also contracted with Canterbury for 2018, but has been given permission to negotiate with rivals as Des Hasler's salary cap feels the pinch from big-name signings Aaron Woods and Kieran Foran.
Complicating Melbourne's pursuit of Myles is Manly's own pack problems, where they were exposed by a lack of depth earlier in the season.
Myles, Marty Taupau, Darcy Lussick and Lloyd Perrett have all been sidelined at various points this year through injury and suspension, leaving coach Trent Barrett light on up front.
Having already endured one front-row shortage this season, Barrett will be loathe to engineer a similar situation by releasing contracted players without viable replacement options.