MELBOURNE, AUSTRALIA - JULY 08: Brodie Croft of the Storm runs with the ball during the round 18 NRL match between the Melbourne Storm and the Parramatta Eels at AAMI Park on July 8, 2017 in Melbourne, Australia. (Photo by Scott Barbour/Getty Images)

A lawn bowls injury has put Storm halfback Brodie Croft in doubt to feature in the club's finals campaigns with a host of stars set to return.

The 21-year old pulled out of Friday night's clash with the Panthers at AAMI Park due to a inflamed bursa in his left knee, aggravated by mid-week lawn bowling.

"It wasn't done through the lawn bowls, but the continual bending of (Croft's) knee in lawn bowls has inflamed it and I've never seen a knee so swollen on Thursday," Storm football manager Frank Ponissi told

"It was like a balloon so they drained it, hoping that overnight it would come down. It did, but not enough and after we took him for a run at midday he wasn't up to playing.

"If it had been a Saturday game he probably would've been right. He'll be back at training Monday, it's just the swelling didn't come down enough for that game."

It will be tough goings for Croft to return to the side, given stars Billy Slater (personal) and Cameron Munster (knee) will slot straight back into the team, and playmaker Jahrome Hughes will move into the halves.

Ponissi went on to defend Croft for his bizarre accident, conceding it was simply a misfortunate outcome.

"We're always telling our players to get off social media and get off their computer games, and it's not like Brodie was skateboarding or doing anything high risk, Ponissi said.

"He's gone lawn bowling so we're not giving him too much grief. I've never seen anything like it, it's just a strange one that comes when we've got a few injuries."

Despite dropping to second place, Melbourne will still host their first final, and Fijian flyer Suliasi Vunivalu will be pushing his claims to return.

"Suli's more a chance of playing than not playing," Ponissi said.

"He had a good run on Saturday, he's a chance of getting back into full training by mid-week, but he's not certain at this stage."


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