Already without international halfback Jahrome Hughes due to injury, the club hinted at making several changes to their team list in a club statement on Monday. According to News Corp, Cameron Munster, Harry Grant, and Nick Meaney will headline a list of stars that Craig Bellamy will rest to be fit for the first week of the finals.
The absence of Meaney will likely see Ryan Papenhuyzen promoted to the starting fullback role- his first time since a year-long injury saw him miss the majority of the season. Spine players Munster and Grant have also reportedly been carrying minor injuries throughout the backend of the season, so a one-week rest will help them recover.
“It is a long and tough season so we will take the opportunity to freshen up a number of the boys before we head into our finals campaign,” Storm General Manager of Football Frank Ponissi said on Monday.
“We also get the chance to give some other players more NRL game time which will be important for our preparation for finals footy.
A Victorian junior, Faalogo has come through the club's pathways system and will most likely replace either Origin representative Xavier Coates or Rookie of the Year Contender Will Warbrick on the wing.
A former Australian Schoolboy and U19s Queensland representative, Howarth also played rugby union at a high level in his youth and was locked down to a five-year deal with the club last season.
The resting of multiple stars will also have ramifications for the rest of the competition. If Craig Bellamy decides to rest multiple star players, it will more than likely see the Broncos claim the Minor Premiership, meaning the Panthers rest their stars against the Cowboys, as they will finish in second place whether they win or lose.
A Cowboys victory against the star-less Panthers will then be more likely to occur, which will see the Sydney Roosters miss finals contention and cause a must-win game for the Canberra Raiders and South Sydney Rabbitohs in their respective games.