After toying with giving former bad boy Jayden Nikorima his first Melbourne start, Craig Bellamy has opted to play it safe with Nick Meaney handed the playmaker duties against Manly.
Cameron Munster didn't make the trip to Sydney for the Storm's Thursday night NRL clash after injuring his shoulder in Sunday's State of Origin in Perth.
While both Nikorima, who hasn't played an NRL game since 2016, and Chris Lewis trained at five-eighth during the captain's run on Thursday, Bellamy opted for Meaney.
The versatile Meaney has been playing at fullback but the return of Ryan Papenhuyzen from injury has freed him to shift roles.
Papenhuyzen will start after Bellamy considered using him from the bench after an eight-week absence, while Nikorima could still make his Storm debut after being named on the bench.
Still only 25, Nikorima has only played seven NRL games but was sacked by the Sydney Roosters in 2017 after failing a drugs test.
Bellamy said the talented 25-year-old had taken some time to learn the Storm ways since joining the club in the pre-season.
"He probably didn't see the effort areas as important when he first come but he's had a really good last four or five weeks up in the Queensland Cup so he's settled into what we see as important," Bellamy said.
Manly coach Des Hasler insisted his side hadn't been preoccupied with the brilliant Munster, who scored two tries to set up the Storm's 28-8 victory over the Sea Eagles in round 12.
The Storm have long been known for their "next man up" approach and Hasler expected them to handle the star's absence at 4 Pines Park.
"There's another bloke floating around the back there called (Ryan) Papenhuyzen and he might be a bit handy at the back," said Hasler.
"They're not sitting second on the table because they can't handle adversity. They're very well prepared."
The 10th-placed Sea Eagles could finish the round in the top eight for the first time in two months with a win, but a loss could push them down to 11th.
"We know what these games are," Hasler said.
"The last month of football, we've probably been a bit inconsistent but we're getting better."
Hasler said his side wouldn't be haunted by their last performance at 4 Pines Park.
In round 15, Manly led North Queensland 26-12 with eight minutes to play but conceded three late tries and ultimately lost 28-26.
"That was a really hard learning experience," Hasler said.
"For 72 minutes, we had that side well and truly where we needed them to be. But we've got to find a way to win, it's as simple as that."
Hasler confirmed both Manly's Origin players, Jake Trbojevic and Daly Cherry-Evans, would line up.