The Melbourne Storm have confirmed that eight players injured at the end of the 2022 campaign are all on track to be fit for Round 1 of the 2023 season.
All of Ryan Papenhuyzen, Christian Welch, Tom Eisenhuth, Dean Ieremia, George Jennings, Reimis Smith and Tyran Wishart finished the season on the sidelines for the Storm, while winger Xavier Coates was injured during training with the Papua New Guinea side ahead of the Rugby League World Cup.
Welch and Jennings have been the two longest-term injuries for the club, with Welch missing almost the entire season after suffering an Achilles injury, while Jennings injured his ACL in Round 1 against the Wests Tigers.
There was a time when Welch was set to race the clock to make it back on the field, however, that was put on ice, with Welch now hoping to be back to full training by January, while Jennings is on a modified program still at this stage. The club expect him to be available for pre-season trials however, with full training expected to commence sometime during January.
The club have revealed he is now on a program to develop strength and power in the shattered knee, and won't be back to full training until the New Year, however, the club still remain hopeful of his return in Round 1.
Reimis Smith and Xavier Coates are the other two players not back in full training yet, with Smith recovering from a torn pectoral muscle that is limiting his contract work, and Coates recovering from a torn hamstring.
Smith was due to return late in the season, but re-aggravated the injury, forcing him to undergo surgery, while Coates has been confirmed to be on a modified training program until at least January.
The Storm play the Sydney Roosters in Geelong and the New Zealand Warriors across the Tasman for their 2023 trials before kicking off the season proper with the opener against the Parramatta Eels on Thursday, March 2.