Why Munster loves the hate
BIRTHDAY boy Cameron Munster talks a lot like he plays - fast and off the cuff and with and an ingrained sense of humility.
It is why "middle man" Munster, who turned 25 on Friday, has revelled in being the "one that got smashed" in a clip shared by American YouTube channel, House of Highlights, and seen by more than 2.7m viewers on Instagram alone.
It is why the mischievous Rockhampton junior turned superstar welcomed a poll that named Storm the most hated team in the NRL as "doing something right".
"Fingers crossed we can annoy the Raiders fans on Saturday," Munster said.
Munster declared himself "fine" and "ready to go" having shrugged off a shoulder and neck "niggle".
Munster went into the penultimate round of the home-and-away season with an aggravated AC shoulder joint, following a knock the week before, only to then to be one of two Storm stars "laid out" by Sea Eagles enforcer Jorge Taufua.
"I've had a lot of people inboxing on Instagram and giving it to me," Munster said.
"Taufua got me an absolute beauty … it was really pleasing to see myself get smashed on House Of Highlights.
"I heard it got a lot of views so hopefully if I go to America someone will say I was the one that got smashed.
"I got up, I had to get up, I didn't think I could lay down."
The significance of today's clash with the Raiders is not lost on Munster, the winner afforded a week off and home preliminary final.
Munster has played 110 games since making his debut in 2014, including 11 finals and the past three NRL deciders.
A spate of retirements and departures has forced Munster to step up to the leadership plate, somewhat reluctantly, passing on the "values" he learned off Cameron Smith and Jesse Bromwich.
"I don't really talk too much, I stutter my words most of the time so I usually try and do it with actions," Munster said.
"It's a bit scary … to go around and tell the boys not to do that, do this when I was doing it when I was coming through the grades.
"You don't want to be hypocritical with it all but sometimes you just got to, it's good.
"I know I'm only 25 but I feel like I'm 35, hopefully I can feel like an 18 year old like Smithy in the next six years, so fingers crossed."