“We are hoping Dale can come back next week, we won’t risk him this week,” Ponissi said.
“He’s not too far away. We will see how he goes in the next seven days.
“We decided to give Paps another week. He’s very important to our team going into the finals so we have given him another rest. Hopefully he can get a run next week.”
Storm utility Brandon “Cheese” Smith is making a strong push to play on Saturday after breaking his jaw against Parramatta on August 23.
Ponissi said Smith was doing everything right this week, while outside back Paul Momirovski had impressed after finger surgery that was meant to keep him out for 12 weeks.
“The Cheese has trained all week and the medical staff are pleased,” Ponissi said.
“If he can get through our Friday session, he is a chance to be in the 17.
“Paul has been a surprise for all of us. He has come back a few weeks earlier than expected.
“If he doesn’t play this week, he is a good chance for next week.”
While the Storm regain players, utility Tom Eisenhuth is putting his name forward for the finals as a bench utility.
The 28-year-old has played a career-best 11 games this year as a second-rower, prop, hooker and two full games as a centre when injuries hit the team’s outside backs.
Eisenhuth had to do a quick count of positions this week when recalling his different roles but after a career filled with injuries, including a fractured larynx in round one last year, the Storm utility is grateful for every chance to play.
“I just try to make the most of any opportunity I get and I know that could be in any position,” Eisenhuth said.
“I just have to stay ready.”
This week’s clash with Wests Tigers could see two Eisenhuths on the field with Matthew Eisenhuth doing well for the Tigers. Contrary to popular opinion, the two are not brothers.
“Matt’s dad and my dad are cousins. That’s the connection,” Eisenhuth said.
“In our younger years because my little brother was also bouncing around through the lower levels [in NSW rugby league]. I think that made it more confusing for everyone.”
The Storm play Wests Tigers at Sunshine Coast Stadium on Saturday at 5.30pm.
Roy Ward is a Sports writer for The Age.