Melbourne Storm will struggle to retain both star forwards…

NRL Rd 8 - Storm v Warriors

MELBOURNE Storm expect to lose one of their off-contract forward stars – Kevin Proctor and Ryan Hoffman – and have set themselves the challenge of making sure they don’t lose both.

There is massive interest in both. Proctor has been linked to offers from Sydney Roosters, St George Illawarra, the Warriors and Canberra. The Warriors are also understood to be among the clubs in for Hoffman – they are obviously determined to get at least one of the pair.

The Storm have invested a lot of their salary cap into the ‘big three’ players – Billy Slater, Cooper Cronk and Cameron Smith – for several years into the future and are finding it increasingly difficult to fend off offers for players they want to keep.

Melbourne lost five-eighth Gareth Widdop to St George Illawarra at the end of last season.

NRL Rd 7 - Raiders v Storm

Rugby League Week has learned the club would have to rely on Proctor and Hoffman each being prepared to stay for much less money than they could earn elsewhere. That is highly unlikely, so Plan B is to negotiate well enough to be able to keep one of them. There is no indication whether one player is more likely to stay than the other.

Proctor and Hoffman are both involved in the representative weekend. Proctor played for the New Zealand side that was surprisingly competitive in the Test against Australia in Sydney on Friday night and Hoffman is the City captain for Sunday’s game against Country in Dubbo.

An up and coming “Young Gun” backrower, Pride Petterson – Robati currently playing NYC has been lost in an early season transfer to the Newcastle Knights. He was expected to make the move to NRL in a few seasons.

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Acknowledgements:   GREG PRICHARD

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