Storm's Addo-Carr up for tough challenges

Melbourne winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored 55 tries in 73 NRL games since joining the Storm in 2017.
Melbourne winger Josh Addo-Carr has scored 55 tries in 73 NRL games since joining the Storm in 2017.

Melbourne Storm speedster Josh Addo-Carr has no fear about tackling much bigger opponents on and off the NRL field.

On Saturday night it will be burly Parramatta winger Blake Ferguson in their NRL sudden-death semi-final at AAMI Park, while Addo-Carr has also been taking a vocal stand against online racist trolls.

Addo-Carr and Ferguson have played together for the Indigenous All-Stars, were room-mates in the NSW State of Origin team and are distant relatives, with both having family in Wellington in country NSW.

They opposed each other in last year's NRL grand final where Addo-Carr's Storm lost to the Roosters, Ferguson's former team.

Addo-Carr knows the size of the challenge Ferguson presents.

"I loved playing with him in the Origin side and it's going to be a great challenge for myself as he's one of the best wingers in the game, he's just so tough.

"He runs like a front-rower, he's massive like 130kg and I'm wringing 80," Addo-Carr said with his trademark laugh.

The 24-year-old has been one of the Storm's most consistent performers in his three seasons in Melbourne, but had an unhappy end to their qualifying final when he spilt a ball 10m out that was scooped up for Canberra's match-winning try in the 77th minute.

Normally the life of the Storm party, teammates were quick to get around a downcast Addo-Carr to help him move on.

"I tried to hit the ball up and I've turned and as I have someone hit my arm and the ball flew out," he said.

"It felt like a bad dream when I was standing behind the goal posts.

"The disappointing thing is that I work on that stuff every day and to lose like that is pretty heart-breaking but that's footy - no-one means to make mistakes and it doesn't define me as a player or a man."

What is defining Addo-Carr is his endeavours as a proud Aboriginal man, with his off-field work earning him a nomination for the NRL's Ken Stephen Medal, which will be awarded during grand-final week to a player for his commitment to community projects.

Addo-Carr has been heavily involved with the NRL's School to Work program - delivered to 14 schools across Victoria - which helps Indigenous Australians stay in the education system and prepare for employment.

While in camp with the Indigenous All Stars in February, he shared his story of his troubled teenage years to elite footballer at the All Stars Youth Summit.

Most recently Addo-Carr has joined with other Indigenous names in the game such as Latrell Mitchell, Cody Walker and Joel Thompson to call out online racist trolls.

Some Indigenous and islander players have been subjected to racist messages, with Addo-Carr himself racially vilified by being called an "abo" in comments on an NRL Instagram page.

"It's very disappointing - the most recent one I put up of some person talking about fostering a kid and turning him into a slave - we shouldn't be hearing that stuff in 2019," Addo-Carr said.

"My people have suffered all that stuff for hundreds of years and it's disappointing to see it's still going on.

"Comments like that aren't good for young Indigenous kids, who want to be the best they can be so we are showing it and being a voice for those kids."

Australian Associated Press