MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - APRIL 30: Brandon Smith of the Storm celebrates with team mates after scoring a try during the round eight NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Cronulla Sharks at AAMI Park on April 30, 2021, in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Robert Cianflone/Getty Images)

The Storm’s injury replacement woes have gone from bad to worse, despite confirmation the club has secured the services of veteran winger David Nofoaluma for the remainder of the 2022 season.

Reports from NewsCorp journalist Brent Read indicate the search is getting frantic as the Storm look to address roster shortages in the middle of the pack and in the outside backs. Despite Nofoaluma’s arrival, Nick Meany suffered a shoulder injury in Friday’s game against the Warriors, adding more strain to the situation, though the middle of the park remains the club's top priority before the deadline.

“They’re still chasing a middle,” Read told Triple M.

“The deadline is a day away, I think we’re going to have a frantic (final hours) for a few clubs.”

GOLD COAST, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 02: Moeaki Fotuaika of the Titans runs the ball during the round 12 NRL match between the Gold Coast Titans and the North Queensland Cowboys at Cbus Super Stadium on June 02, 2019 in Gold Coast, Australia. (Photo by Chris Hyde/Getty Images)

“Melbourne approached the Gold Coast for Mo Fotuaika, the approached the Dragons about Tariq Sims, they approached Newcastle about Mitch Barnett – they all got knocked back.”

“But they’re still searching the NRL for a middle forward, they’ll be frantically hitting phones.”

The Storm are already without Christian Welch and have missed Brandon Smith for multiple weeks following his suspension for dissent, but in better news coach Craig Bellamy revealed he was still holding out hope that Meaney’s injury wasn’t as bad as originally expected.

“He’s done something to his right shoulder but we’re not quite sure what he’s done,” Bellamy said after the Storm’s victory in New Zealand.

“It looked dire when he came off, obviously he had a sling on. But it’s looking a bit better at the moment, they don’t think it’s as bad as they did at the start”.

The Storm’s previous pursuit of an outside-back replacement was dealt multiple blows with clubs rejecting approaches for Reece Walsh, Josh Addo-Carr, Daine Laurie and more, and their search for middle reinforcements has been equally problematic.

It’s believed the Storm may widen their search to include the likes of out-of-favour Parramatta forward Nathan Brown. The Eels enforcer has 137 games of NRL experience, but has only played 13 games this year and is off-contract at the end of 2023.