Storm continuing to sign players for THIS season. What a joke if allowed to go ahead Canterbury product Rulon Nutira is on the brink of signing a premier level contract with the Melbourne Storm and is tipped to make his NRL debut this year. The Storm's recruitment manager Darren Bell confirmed a two-year deal had been offered to Nutira, a former Hornby Panther, who has been playing in the New South Wales Cup reserve grade this season. Nutira's manager, former Kiwis coach Frank Endacott, said yesterday he had "the contract in front of me". "We are still to-ing and fro-ing at this stage ... we're probably a week away [from signing]." Melbourne cannot sign any new players while the club is being audited for well-documented breaches of the National Rugby League salary cap. But Endacott expected Nutira would sign once the audit process had been completed. He said the 20-year-old frontrower, who played three seasons at the Parramatta Eels including a year at Toyota Cup level, had been "next cab off the rank for first grade selection" until a recent hamstring injury. Endacott expects Nutira, who played at centre for Hornby in a Canterbury premiership grand final, to have "a very good chance" of making his NRL debut "around State of Origin time". "I think it's not if, but when [he plays first grade]." Nutira had been "going great guns" in the NSW Cup until he was sidelined for two weeks with a hamstring problem. He made a tentative return for the Toyota Cup under-20 team against the Warriors earlier this month and had been steadily building form since. Meanwhile, Storm general manager (football operations) Frank Ponissi confirmed the salary breach row Ã¢Â€Â“ which saw the Storm stripped of two NRL titles and ordered to play without points this season Ã¢Â€Â“ would not stop the club from continuing to develop future players of the ilk of Australian and Queensland superstars Billy Slater and Greg Inglis. "This club has lost a large amount of players, but there's not much we can do about it. We know we can't keep everyone. We just try to keep as many as we can," Ponissi said. The salary cap debacle meant younger players knew they needed to "show a little more style and grit" to step up to premier level. "We don't believe in giving away spots for the premier level ..." Nutira's development has confirmed Melbourne's view of New Zealand as a fertile rugby league nursery. Former Canterbury under-15s representative and Kaiapoi Bulldog junior Matt Duffie had moved to Auckland and was playing rugby when he was spotted by Bell. "He had a lot of raw talent, we knew he could run and leap. "As an athlete he ticked every box," Bell said. Duffie, 19, has already scored five tries in his budding career Ã¢Â€Â“ two on debut against the Warriors. However, he had to prove his worth before putting on his premier jersey. "We knew early last year he was a kid we were bringing into the top spot," Bell said. "He worked so hard to get there and he did get there. He had six good games in the Toyota Cup. He has deserved his opportunities." West Coaster Slade Griffin, who is contracted for another year, has also been making his mark at centre in the Storm's Toyota Cup squad. Christchurch is a favourite recruiting region for Bell, who earlier this year signed three young Canterbury players, including another Kaiapoi-based junior, Northern Bulldogs back Michael Butson. "The thing I like about Christchurch kids is that they are humble and respectful. They get on with it and work hard."